Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) says the city’s ban on fireworks is making a difference.
Fire Chief Don Beer said fire crews responded to two small fires during the Indian Diwali celebration – held this year on Oct. 26 – and one during Halloween. Total damage was estimated at $500.
“This is an excellent improvement to public safety as a direct result of the ban of fireworks in the community,” he said.
Beer said in 2003 – prior to the 2005 ban – crews responded to 27 incidents involving fireworks with damage totalling $54,000. In 2004, there were 10 fireworks-related incidents with damage totalling almost $26,000.
He said people celebrating Diwali this year were mainly families lighting candles, sparklers and a few fireworks.
Halloween participants were mainly teen and young adult males setting off fireworks and firecrackers on streets, parks and school grounds, Beer said.
Although the use of fireworks – which produce a visual display – has decreased, Beer said the use of firecrackers, which produce a loud bang, has not.
Some other Lower Mainland communities permit the sale of fireworks, enabling people from outside their boundaries to purchase the illegal items.
“It is impossible to eliminate their use within our community without a total ban throughout the Lower Mainland or province,” Beer said.
The ban in Abbotsford prohibits the sale, possession and discharge of pyrotechnics, except in controlled situations – such as community events – to those who are granted a permit.