Measure to temporarily restrict fireworks passes 6-3
A resolution asking the state for county authority to temporarily restrict fireworks during emergencies squeaked through the Hawai'i County Council on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today reported.
The 6-3 vote came amid concerns that the county would have the power to ban a culturally significant practice with little justification on health and safety grounds. Fewer than six votes would have killed the measure.
South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford sponsored the resolution after she discovered the Hawai'i County Fire Department had no authority to restrict News Year's fireworks in her district, despite heavy vog and a brushfire that had darkened skies for weeks.
"It gives us no latitude during an emergency and that's what we had in Kona," Ford said of the state law. "This is not a fireworks ban."
The resolution has the support of Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira.
"We are very sensitive to the cultural component of fireworks within our county, but we want to maintain a balance with health and safety issues," Oliveira said.