I, sincerely, hope each and every one in Kuna and Melba had a happy Independence Day celebration! I know there are those who could not for various reasons, but it seemed like a happy day for a lot of people.
For many years, I helped set up and shoot the fireworks show in Melba on the 4th, and worked on other shows on other dates. In addition, for many years, I fought fires in Melba. Firefighters and pyrotechnicians always look forward to the fireworks shows with trepidation. It is fun working with the other folks helping to set up the show and thrilling to help shoot it at night. However, firefighters are not thrilled to see private celebrations cause some scary times.
Now, retired from that, I can simply watch the fireworks and feel compassion for the firefighters. The thing is, I live in Kuna now. The fireworks show from my front yard is quite remarkable! OK, there are no 3“ or 4” mortars, so the shots don’t go as high, but some of the shells being shot around Kuna are quite spectacular.
In Idaho, as in most areas, aerial fireworks are illegal. There is good reason for that. Remember the firefighters I talked about? Nothing is more heartbreaking for the firefighters and the citizens affected than seeing your property burned.
We live in a dry, dry desert. I know that is easy to forget. Irrigation makes it seem like green grass and green fields are natural in this valley. I assure you they are not. Along every ditch bank, every yard of an empty house, every empty field that is not regularly irrigated is typically a huge tinderbox of dry material awaiting a slight spark. Drive a mile or two south on Swan Falls Road to see what I mean.
Cool, wet springs like we had this year mean lots of tall grasses. Then, two or three weeks of no rain, hot sun, and temperatures in the 90s make that grass a potentially explosive fire waiting to happen. Often houses, barns, cattle, and commercial buildings are situated within or very near those dry areas.
The number of places in Kuna shooting illegal fireworks, just what I could see from my front yard, is overwhelming! Intense, expensive, pretty aerials, interspersed with Roman candles and bottle rockets; those are all scary! Certainly, they are all illegal, why aren’t the police racking up fines on these people? Did you look around on the 4th? There had to be hundreds of law breakers, just in Kuna.
Shoot one that lands on another person’s roof, or start a vacant lot on fire, and you will readily see what the police think of your aerial shots. But, the law breakers are obsequious, and the enforcement staff is limited.
Perhaps it is time to consider pooling all those hundreds of dollars Kuna residents are spending on their own fireworks shows for a professional show put on for Kuna that might help us feel less need to endanger our homes and people with illegal fireworks. I know there are many pyrotechnicians available to put on an amazing show. I’m sure the fire department and police department would both be thrilled to see fewer aerials shot illegally, and for the money already being spent, a spectacular array of fireworks could really make everyone in Kuna sit up and take notice. Worth considering?
According to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office calls to Ada County Dispatch were down this year compared to last not only countywide, but in Kuna as well. For the week prior to the 4th of July weekend there were just 11 calls in Kuna reporting illegal fireworks compared to 15 in 2013. Countywide, there were 128 calls between 9 p.m. and midnight on July 4 this year compared to 228 in 2013.