Diary

Nationally, the Fourth of July marks our country’s day of independence. Locally, last week’s observance marks the first fireworks-filled holiday since the newly passed fireworks ban in early January.

Since then, the new Honolulu law prohibits the use and the purchase of sparklers, fountains and other novelty fireworks, in addition to aerials, which were already illegal prior to the bill’s passage. Firecrackers are allowed with a purchasable $25 permit.

Whatever your feelings concerning the nuances of the legal measure (cultural tradition vs. public safety, being the two most common), it appears to be working.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, firefighters responded to 4 fireworks-related incidents this past Fourth of July. That’s down from 27 incidents on last year’s holiday–a dramatic decline. Last year’s Fourth of July also saw a 200-acre wildfire near a residential area of Kalama Valley in Hawaii Kai, which fire officials determined to be caused by fireworks. This year saw no such pyrotechnic catastrophe.

While those numbers appear to show a community cooperating with the new legislation, the real test won’t be until the looming New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, when neighborhoods traditionally tend to light up simple sparklers (illegal under the consumer fireworks ban) and then some…

Let freedom ring?