It may seem unpatriotic, especially as area residents cast their ballots in today’s primary, that the Barton County Commission voted Monday to continue the ban of fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county. In the resolution, commissioners declined to set a deadline for them to reconsider the action. Instead, the prohibition is in place indefinitely.
It was Monday, July 2, just two days before Barton County was set to join the rest of America in observing our nation’s independence. The area was in the grips of a worsening drought and fields were tinder dry.
Even many of the local fireworks vendors agreed that allowing the discharge of their products was a bad idea.
So, despite public outcries that they were ruining the Forth of July, commissioners voted to ban fireworks, agreeing to revisit the issue a month later. That revisiting came Monday morning, and still the region is plagued by dry conditions.
It has become a weekly occurrence for the commission that county emergency personnel request a burn ban. These bans are routinely approved.
So, it would seem in poor form to allow fireworks if a burn ban is in place.
“The intent is to still have a day where you can discharge fireworks,” Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said as he addressed the commission Monday morning at the Courthouse. “We are just not sure when that day is going to be.”
Drought conditions worsen across Kansas with lingering below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures. This means the fire potential remains high. In fact, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows Barton County is in extreme drought conditions.
This is not about patriotism. This is about common sense.
Shooting off firecrackers made in Southeast Asia is not necessary to observe our heritage of freedom.