Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Drought Won't Stop July 4th Fireworks in Some Dry States

Climate
Drought Won't Stop July 4th Fireworks in Some Dry States

It's so dry around Phil Griego's New Mexico village that grass crunches when ranchers like himself shift horses, cattle and other animals from one field to another.

That's why the Democratic state senator tried to pass an update to New Mexico fireworks laws that would have provided cities and counties more authority to ban fireworks when fires are more likely. It didn't happen, despite support from fire departments, both sides of aisle and the governor, who has wanted to change the law for about three years.

Griego told The Associated Press that he hopes the law is revisited sooner than later.

"This is critical because I don't think this drought and this situation we're in right now is going to pass any time soon," Griego said. "For this year, it's done and over, but we've got to start working on next year. We've got to have protections. Look at the fires that are taking place now with just lightning strikes."

Fireworks restrictions vary in some of the nation's driest states, despite the risks of drought fires. Photo credit: Kevin Stanchfield/Flickr Creative Commons

Things are different in California, which suffered has been rocked by three dry winters and an ongoing drought impacting water supplies, food prices and more. Few cities allow the sale and use of legal fireworks. The state's forestry division has enacted an open-burn ban this week for millions of acres it manages. It also has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal fireworks.

Arizona began allowing the sale and use of some fireworks four years ago, but has updated laws to prohibit them in the counties of the state's two largest cities—Phoenix and Tucson—but only around the July 4 holiday. The Phoenix Fire Department will place trucks around the city to quickly respond to potential brush fires, while city employees will monitor hiking trails.

Some lawmakers in Texas declined to impose fireworks restrictions on small businesses, so legislation to empower the state fire marshal stalled.

Utah is much more aggressive, authorizing counties to restrict fireworks in unincorporated areas. Fire risk caused more than 50 cities and towns to impose more restrictions this year.

"We're trying to keep control on it," Glenn D'Auria, president of the Arizona Fire Marshals Association and a Tucson fire inspector, told the AP. "It's new for us. It's not like back East where people grew up with it.

"It's a new toy to play with out here."

 

The 2020 presidential election poses a critical test of climate conservatives' willingness to put their environmental concerns before party politics. filo / Getty Images

By Ilana Cohen

Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.

But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva amid the COVID-19 outbreak on Aug. 17, 2020. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Exterior of Cold Tube demonstration pavilion. Lea Ruefenacht

By Gloria Oladipo

In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
A Botswana elephant stands in a body of water. Geschenkpanda / Pixabay

Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.

Read More Show Less
Activists gather in John Marshall Park for the Global Climate Strike protests on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Alexandra Villarreal

As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch