Grass fire

A grass fire started by an errant firework near Bolstad Beach Approach was quickly stamped out by two witnesses this July 4. A new ordinance will allow Long Beach to ban fireworks if fire danger is considered to be too high.

LONG BEACH — Come 2023, the City of Long Beach will have new restrictions on fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday.

On Nov. 1, the Long Beach City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that cuts both the sale and use of fireworks from eight to five days. Under the ordinance, which cannot go into effect until one year from when it was adopted per state law, the sale of fireworks will be allowed within Long Beach city limits from June 29 to July 3, and the discharge of fireworks will be allowed from June 30 to July 4.

The ordinance also limits the number of permits that the city grants for fireworks stands each year to two, although city officials said that Long Beach usually does not receive more than two applications in a single year anyway. The ordinance also affirms that the penalty for people who possess or discharge illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor, “and will be fined as such.”

Three of the four councilors present at the meeting voted to approve the ordinance. Several attendees speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting urged the council to postpone a vote until after Tuesday’s general election, which featured a pair of contested Long Beach City Council races. Councilor Del Murry was the lone ‘no’ vote on the ordinance, after previously pushing at meetings this summer for a further reduction in the number of days that fireworks can be sold and used.

The council also unanimously adopted another ordinance at Monday’s regular meeting, which grants the council the authority to ban the use of fireworks in any year if an imminent threat, such as high fire danger, is posed. While the final decision is up to the council, a recommendation from the city’s mayor, police chief and fire chief will be formally submitted to the council for consideration.

Like the first ordinance, the emergency ban ordinance can also not go into effect until a year from when it was adopted according to state law. However, the council tweaked the language of both of the ordinances, which could allow them to take effect in time for next summer if the state Legislature takes action on the law in question in the 2022 legislative session.

Countywide efforts on restricting fireworks are continuing this month after little action was taken on the issue in October. A workshop for county, city and other local stakeholders is set for Nov. 16.

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