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The Twin Falls Police Department issued more citations this year for the possession and use of illegal fireworks, as part of a continued response to citizens' concerns about the safety of people and property in the community.
From July 3rd through July 5th of this year, Twin Falls police issued 47 citations for the possession or use of illegal fireworks - an offense that carries a $100 fine, plus court costs. It was a significant increase compared to last year, when police issued five citations for illegal fireworks. At the same time, the number of calls-for-service regarding illegal fireworks use increased from 114 to 166 during the same time frame. The City of Twin Falls encouraged citizens through education campaigns to report illegal fireworks use to the Twin Falls Police Department.
Citizens cited the use of aerial fireworks - such as bottle-rocket, mortar and roman candle style fireworks - that were endangering property and public safety. Citizens also cited concerns about the use of fireworks outside of the time frame designated by city code for acceptable use.
According to City Code, aerial fireworks are illegal to use within the city limits, and all fireworks shall only be discharged within the City of Twin Falls between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight from June 23 through July 5 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
In 2013, the City responded to growing concern among citizens by first educating citizens about the proper use of "safe and sane" fireworks. Along with a public outreach campaign, the City posted signs at primary entrances to the community that reminded citizens that aerial fireworks are illegal. Informational material was also distributed to private organizations, such as community groups and homeowners' associations.
Concerns about public safety were heightened this year due to exceedingly dry conditions that posed a fire hazard. The City will continue to educate citizens about the proper use of legal fireworks, and also enforce the city code to ensure the safety of citizens and their property.
Two small brush fires in the City of Twin Falls were believed to be ignited by fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend. Although the fires were not intentionally set, they further demonstrate how quickly a firework can create a significant danger.
Citizens are still encouraged to report the use of illegal fireworks by contacting the Twin Falls Police Department's non-emergency number at 208-735-4357.