Indiana fireworks bans hitting dealers hard

Keywords Law / Real Estate

Fireworks retailers around Indiana say they're seeing a big hit to sales because of the fireworks bans being put in place amid the state's drought conditions.

Some retailers maintain that many customers are confused by some counties prohibiting fireworks even though they believe state law allows them to be set off on private property around the Fourth of July.

"They've created a patchwork quilt across the area," H.E. Draves, owner of Spiderworks in Mishawaka, told the South Bend Tribune for a story Monday.

Most of Indiana's 92 counties had open burning bans in place on Monday and many of them have issued emergency orders banning fireworks.

Several community fireworks shows have been postponed, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced Monday it was calling off its traditional fireworks finale during its Independence Day shows this week at Conner Prairie in Fishers. The city of Indianapolis imposed a fireworks ban over the weekend.

"With the excessive drought conditions that we're under, along with excessive heat, we kind of have an extraordinary situation where we have an extreme risk of fire hazard," Indianapolis Fire Chief Brian Sanford told WISH-TV. "We are literally talking minutes, or even seconds in some cases, from the time that a fire can be in a yard and spread to the house."

Don Rennaker, 69, who lives near the Grant County town of Converse, said he still planned to shoot off fireworks from his large driveway even though he's never seen the area so dry.

"I'll have a hose handy," Rennaker told the Chronicle-Tribune of Marion.

Draves said he was optimistic about his Mishawaka store's fireworks sales around the Memorial Day weekend.

"We saw a microburst, then it started slacking off because it got hotter and drier," Draves said.

The Indiana Fireworks Distributors Association said it believes counties are overstepping their boundaries by prohibiting personal use of fireworks but that it won't go to court to stop the practice.

"Fireworks is a two week out of the year business, and some people depend on their livelihood for this," Michael Encapera of Patriotic Fireworks in Indianapolis told WRTV. "So it will definitely affect their pocketbook."

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