How cities plan to enforce a fireworks ban - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How cities plan to enforce a fireworks ban

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This winter, Iowans will see bottle rockets alongside Christmas gifts. Even though selling fireworks is legal, some Iowans may not be able to set them off within city limits.

Firework sales start Sunday, December 10th and run until January 3rd. However, four major Eastern Iowa cities have banned the use of fireworks within city limits. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque and Cedar Falls city council's have all voted to ban the use of fireworks during the winter. 

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson says he doesn't expect a high number of fireworks in the middle of winter. However, come summertime during the 4th of July, the itch to set them off will be in the air. Chief Olson explains how officers would be able to issue a citation. 

"As it sits now, we're going to have to see them launch those fireworks or use those fireworks, just simply a possession is not going to be a violation anymore," said Chief Olson. 

Chief Olson says the new law which allows fireworks sales, will make enforcement a little tricky.

"In the past, it was illegal to sell, to possess, and to use," said Chief Olson. "And so what you would do-if you got a complaint, you would address that complaint. But what we would typically do is either have somebody put the fireworks in a bucket and pour water in there or we would seize them and destroy them. Well now, when you get a complaint, you can't destroy them, because they're legal to posses."

In Cedar Falls, if police catch you setting fireworks off, you could be facing a fine starting at $200. 

"I hope the citizens don't expect there to be no use and not hear it at all, because even when it was illegal in years past- we had it," said Chief Olson. "But, we'll do the best we can to respond to those, but it will be a lower priority call so people need to be patient with us." 

Smaller cities, such as Evansdale, have voted for a limited period to allow people to set fireworks off. The Evansdale City Council passed an ordinance to allow fireworks use from Dec. 28-Jan. 1 starting at 12 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. Evansdale Mayor Doug Faas says they made an exception for Dec. 31, which will allow residents to set fireworks off until 12:30 a.m. Mayor Faas says if residents set fireworks off, outside the time frames allowed, they could be facing a fine as well. 

The city of Waterloo is considering a ban on setting fireworks off within city limits. They haven't come to a clear decision yet, but will be re-visiting the ordinance on Monday. 

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