Fireworks: Mind law, safety tips

Anything bought outside Wichita probably isn't legal to shoot here, the fire marshal says.

06/25/2011 12:00 AM

06/25/2011 12:07 AM

Shoot them in the area where you buy them.

That's the short and sweet message Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp has about fireworks as Independence Day approaches.

Fireworks go on sale in Wichita on Monday and can be purchased through July 5.

If residents go to Derby or Goddard or Andover to buy fireworks, "there's a good chance they're going to be illegal" to be used in Wichita, Crisp said.

Even though Wichita is in Sedgwick County, he said, "Sedgwick County has different rules for what you can purchase and what you can shoot."

Fireworks can only be purchased and set off in the county from July 1 to July 4.

Firefighters and police officers will be patrolling during the holiday period to watch for violations of the fireworks ordinance.

Violators face a fine of as much as $2,500 and as much as one year in jail, Crisp said.

Last year, 15 fires were started by fireworks in the city, he said, including two building fires. The rest were grass fires, fence fires, trash fires and tree fires.

Fireworks caused an estimated $103,000 in damage last year, Crisp said.

More than 30 injuries were blamed on fireworks, including the case of a 2-year-old who was burned by a sparkler.

The forecast for the next 10 days includes just one with a chance for rain. Hearty breezes and temperatures at or near the century mark will predominate, increasing the fire danger in the region.

Aerial fireworks should not be set off if wind speeds top 15 miles an hour, Crisp said. Professional fireworks displays use that same limit for determining whether shows can be held.

Fireworks can be set off from 6 a.m. to midnight between Monday and July 5 in Wichita.

Officials urge residents to keep a garden hose and a bucket of water handy to douse fireworks.

For more information, call the fire prevention section at 316-268-4441.

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