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Halloween fireworks ban? New West monitoring conditions taking action

Some municipalities have banned fireworks because of drought conditions in B.C.
New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services is monitoring the conditions before banning fireworks this Halloween.

Will fireworks be banned in New West due to drought conditions? That could depend on the weather.

Some residents have taken to social media to inquire if fireworks are being banned in New Westminster this Halloween because of fire risks related to drought conditions.

And after going weeks without rain, some B.C. municipalities have taken action in recent weeks to ban fireworks through the Halloween, including Saanich and Central Saanich (subject to change) on Vancouver Island. Earlier this month, officials in Gibsons announced they wouldn’t be approving permits for individual fireworks displays because of the ongoing drought conditions.

“At this point, we have not banned the use of fireworks during the Halloween time period,” New Westminster’s acting fire Chief said in an Oct. 20 email to the Record. “We continue to monitor the situation and are prepared to do so if weather conditions remain unseasonably dry. The long-range weather forecast is indicating several days of rain between now and Halloween, so we will continue to assess the level of risk.”

Williams said the fire department will provide further information as Halloween approaches.

After weeks of above-average temperatures and dry conditions, the weather forecast is calling for many days of showers and rain in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

The City of New Westminster’s fire protection bylaw allows people to possess low-hazard fireworks from 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 28 until 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1. They can only be set off between 4 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Low-hazard fireworks include firework showers, fountains, golden rain, lawn lights, pin wheels and screecheroos.

The bylaw also states that person under the age of 18 years may possess or set off low-hazard fireworks. Low-hazard fireworks can only be set off only on private property with the consent of the owner being first obtained, or on public property with the written permission of the director of fire and rescue services.

The bylaw also states that:

* No person shall use, set off or discharge roman candles.

* No person shall point or direct a firework at any person, animal, building or motor vehicle where such firework is in the process of exploding or detonating, and where it is capable of projecting or discharging a charge or pyrotechnical effect for a distance of more than three feet

* No person shall at any time, possess or set off high-hazard fireworks unless that person has first obtained a valid special permit from the director of fire and rescue services in the prescribed form. (High-hazard fireworks refers to fireworks defined as such under federal explosives regulations, and includes rockets and firecrackers.