Fireworks ban irks vendors

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

With Independence Day fast approaching, the possibility of a fireworks-free celebration has vendors praying for rain.
Because of persistent drought conditions in the area, the Curry County Commission placed a ban earlier this month restricting the sale and use of fireworks. The proclamation prohibits the sale of rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners and ground-audible fireworks, and restricts the use of other fireworks to areas that are paved or have a readily accessible source of water.

The ban will be reviewed in 30 days, when evidence of drought-like conditions will need to be proven again for it to be renewed.

Christina Snell, who owns area fireworks stands, said she believes a ban is not necessary if common sense is used.

“We promote safety by handing out fireworks safety pamphlets,” Snell said. “If there is parental supervision and people use their brains … then there won’t be a risk of fire.”
According to Snell, the ban will also negatively affect the teenagers she usually hires as temporary help during the fireworks sales season.

“Some of these kids rely on this income for school supplies,” Snell said.

The Clovis resident said she plans to wait to purchase stock for her seasonal business until closer to the Fourth of July. But delaying buying has a definite downside.

“The pricing gets higher the longer I wait to buy,” Snell said, “which cuts into profits.”

Wayne Wildman also owns fireworks stands in the Clovis area. As proprietor of Mr. W Fireworks, which operates in surrounding states as well as New Mexico, Wildman does not expect to be greatly affected if the ban continues through Independence Day.

“Our supplies are ordered,” Wildman said, “so now I am just praying for rain.”

County employee Coni Jo Lyman, whose office issues the permits required for fireworks sales, said overall the vendors who have called regarding the ban have been respectful.

“They have been calling the office to see where they stand on sales,” Lyman said. “I understand … because they make big money off of this (fireworks sales).”

Officials had previously expressed hope that the ban would be extended to neighboring cities and counties.

Currently, the city of Clovis and Roosevelt County also have burn bans in place that encompass the use of fireworks, but officials from Parmer County reported no fireworks ban is planned.