With little rain in forecast, area
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Concern is high among city of Imperial officials with the extreme dry conditions in the area, and the start of fireworks sales on Monday.
Already on Tuesday, Imperial police were called to a small fire in an Imperial yard planted with buffalo grass, started from use of the colored smoke bombs popular with youths.
Temperatures near or surpassing 100 degrees, with just over half an inch of rain this month, have added to the fire concern and prompted Mayor Dwight Coleman to call a meeting last Thursday with Fire Chief Nick Schultz and Police Chief Rob Browning.
The trio discussed the possibilities of a citywide ban on private discharge of fireworks due to the extreme dryness and the added chance of fire throughout the area right now.
While a local ban hasn’t resulted yet, Fire Chief Schultz said it still could be a consideration, especially if the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) and police observe careless use of fireworks in the coming days.
It could also be a consideration if current conditions persist or get worse, he said.
Colorado’s governor has issued a statewide ban on all private use of fireworks in that neighboring state because of the very dry conditions and high fire danger there. Municipal and professional displays are not included in Colorado’s ban with written approval by the county sheriff.
While Nebraska state officials haven’t taken that action as of mid-week, local officials do have the right to impose bans when conditions warrant it, by way of emergency action of the governing body(ies).
At this time, local officials are strongly encouraging the safe use of fireworks and other flammable items such as cigarettes.
“Everyone is urged to use extreme caution,” especially with fireworks now that the 10-day sale period is underway, Schultz said.
Adult supervision is being required on all lighting of fireworks.
The local outlets for fireworks have posted notices from the fire chief alerting the public that Imperial remains in a “Red Flag” warning area by the National Weather Service in North Platte.
In addition, with input from Browning and Coleman, Schultz asked that a specific floating parachute firework be taken off the shelves and not be sold, and both outlets have complied.
According to information posted by the fire department, anyone using fireworks that result in a fire may be held liable for all costs involved.
Police Chief Browning also encourages people to be considerate when shooting off fireworks in the city. In that light, he said 10 p.m. should be an agreeable stop time, except for the night of the Fourth.
IVFD show still on
The Imperial Volunteer Fire Department fireworks show at the fairgrounds on July 3 is still in the plans as of Wednesday morning, Schultz said.
However, IVFD members will be dousing the grass areas at the fairgrounds much heavier than in other years, he said.
The IVFD will be meeting Monday night to finalize the fireworks show any additional safety measures.