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Lexington bans fireworks; Public displays still on

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced that the city is banning the use of personal fireworks until further notice.

The announcement came on Monday afternoon, after the Mayor met with fire officials and other public safety leaders. They're concerned about the growing number of brush fires that firefighters are having to battle in Lexington. The ban will remain in effect until the Division lifts the outdoor burning ban it issued last week.

People can still purchase them and fireworks stands will remain open, but shooting them is not allowed.

All five public displays that are planned in the city will still go on as planned, including the downtown 4th of July celebration on Cox Street, and the Red, White and Boom display on July 7 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

The 100-plus readings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday made it the second-hottest three-day stretch on record for Lexington, second only to a stretch in July 1936. “We’ve had 135 grass fires in the past 2 weeks in Lexington. Normally we would have no more than a handful in that time.” Mayor Gray said. The cause of 11 of those fires was traced to the use of fireworks. Others are related to lightning or cigarette butts, which recently caught mulch on fire at an apartment building and a church. Fire officials are unaware of any serious injuries related to the fires. They encouraged property owners and managers to keep mulch damp. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Gray said. “The decision we’re announcing today will not be popular with some, but it’s the right thing to do … the safe thing to do. We must do what we can to stop fires before they start.”

The ban applies to fireworks that stay on the ground and those that are shot up into the air. Both can start fires.

The city has already responded to numerous calls about fireworks. In addition to raising concerns about fires, many citizens complain about noise. A city ordinance enacted last year restricts the use of fireworks after 10 p.m. to three days, July 3 and 4 and December 31.

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