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Burns Lake to scrap fireworks ban

Fireworks still illegal to sell and store under proposed bylaw

Burns Lake council appears poised to abolish the ban on setting off consumer fireworks within village limits, after fire chief Rob Krause called the fireworks bylaw “toothless.”

Consumers would still have to travel outside of Burns Lake to buy Roman candles and other popular fireworks — and the ignition of those pyrotechnics would be strictly forbidden during wildfire season under the proposed bylaw.

Krause told council on April 10 that the ban on consumer fireworks is impossible to enforce.

“The biggest issue for me is that we’ve had no ability to enforce our bylaw,” he said, noting that locals routinely use such fireworks on holidays including Halloween and Canada Day.

“It was a piece of toothless legislation, the way it stood,” said Krause.

Ordinary fireworks are freely available to Burns Lake residents, he said, noting that they’re sold at shops located just outside of village boundaries.

Fireworks would remain illegal to “sell, store, give or trade” in Burns Lake, but the rule completely outlawing the use of fireworks within village limits is deleted from the proposed bylaw.

Only so-called “consumer fireworks” would become legal to use under the new bylaw. These are considered relatively low-hazard fireworks under a federal law known the Explosive Act.

Those newly permitted pyrotechnics include “fireworks showers, fountains, golden rain, lawn lights, pinwheels, Roman candles and volcanoes.”

The bylaw also contains a new provision that would make it illegal to set off fireworks during wildfire season when the Ministry of Forests prohibits fires.

“Then we have conservation officers, RCMP, compliance and enforcement technicians from the Ministry, all of whom are enforcing their burning bans,” said Krause.

“And fireworks fall under the burning ban.”

Apart from consumer fireworks, there are varieties of recreational pyrotechnics that would remain the exclusive domain of certain officers, a select group that includes the chief of the fire department, local bylaw enforcement officers and officers at the Burns Lake RCMP detachment.

The fire chief would also remain able to name special officers with the right to fire off non-consumer fireworks — provided that they hold a valid fireworks supervisor certificate.

A wide range of items would remain prohibited under the bylaw, some of them with curious names, including “throw-down torpedoes and crackling balls.”

Other items under the forbidden fireworks list include “exploding golf balls, stink bombs and smoke bombs” and “ammunition for miniature tie clips, cufflinks or keychain pistols.” Also banned are “fake firecrackers and other trick devices or practical jokes.”

Offenders would still face a $2,000 fine for offences committed under the revised Burns Lake fireworks bylaw, which goes to council for a vote at the next regular meeting on April 24.