Freedom – May 10, 2010 – As summer approaches, Freedom officials want seasonal residents to know voters approved a fireworks ordinance at this year’s Town Meeting.
The use of fireworks by residents and visitors is now prohibited except for the four days leading up to and the four days following the 4th of July, plus New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
In an apparent first in state municipal law, the ordinance also has a Red Sox carve-out, allowing pyrotechnic displays for 24 hours following the final out of the final game of any World Series in which Boston wins.
The selectmen proposed the ordinance after hearing concerns that the uncontrolled use of fireworks was creating fire and safety hazards. Town officials also said the number of complaints about noise from fireworks had increased in recent years.
Class C fireworks are legal in New Hampshire and have been a staple of Ossipee Lake life for generations. They continue to be legal in Ossipee and Effingham.
Not addressed by the ordinance are Chinese flying lanterns, also known as sky lanterns, which pose a fire danger but are not considered to be fireworks. Once lit, the devices, which are sold in convenience stores, gracefully rise in the air and can float for miles before landing – often still on fire.
In an incident two years ago, a flying lantern floated into Camp Huckins and set fire to pine needles on a cabin roof. Fortunately, staff members observed the device as it floated across the bay and were able to extinguish the flames.
On designated days when fireworks are legal in Freedom, the ordinance specifies that the devices can only be used by adults and “in a safe manner, in a non-densely populated area (as determined by the enforcing officer).”
Commercial displays of fireworks are permitted provided that a permit is obtained from the Fire Chief or Police Chief. All fireworks are banned after 10 p.m. except for New Year’s Eve, when they are permitted until 2 a.m.
Violators of the ordinance can be fined up to $250 and be liable for restitution as warranted. The ordinance can be read on Freedom’s town website.