Fireworks and the 2020 ‘dumpster fire’

A lot of people offered a lot of opinions ahead of this week’s decision by the Clark County Council to limit fireworks sales and use, but one comment probably captured everyone’s mood at the moment.

In part of his comment submitted to the council, Andy Matson wrote, “2020 has been such a dumpster fire of a year for so many.”

Matson’s comment was one of about 230 written to the council regarding the ordinance that will limit fireworks use to those that are “safe and sane,” meaning they travel no more than 1 foot into the air and no more than 6 feet along the ground. Interim County Manager Kathleen Otto said that 63 percent of them opposed the changes, and Matson was one of them.

I quoted part of Matson’s comment in the story and almost included the “dumpster fire” line. Ironically, the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to a dumpster fire caused by fireworks around the Fourth of July this year.

But I decided against, for the purposes of the news story, because the ordinance will not take effect until Dec. 1, 2021.

Fireworks rule changes have been a subject of substantial local debate in the county for years. That didn’t stop after the ordinance was passed Tuesday. Several residents have expressed frustration that the council did not side with the considerable majority of commenters.

Because of the large volume of comments, the council listened to a roughly representative sample size of 12 against and 8 in favor of the limits.

Technically, that amounted to a 60-percent to 40-percent split. If the council listened to one more comment against and one fewer in favor, the split (65 percent to 35 percent) would have been a slightly better representation.

One reader reached out to me to point out the difference, accusing the council of “duplicity.”

The fire rages on.

Jack Heffernan

Jack Heffernan

Jack Heffernan is a breaking news reporter and covers Clark County government for The Columbian.

Scroll to top