Idaho legislature refuses to close loophole in fireworks regulations

The state of Idaho has a ridiculous law regulating the use of fireworks. It prohibits the use of fireworks that fly more than 20 feet into the air, including bottle rockets and aerial displays, that are used for private purposes. However, they can be sold in the state without any problem. The buyer simply has to promise by signing a form that they will not use them in Idaho.

Yesterday House Minority Leader Rep. Mat Erpelding introduced legislation that would close this loophole, making the sale of the illegal fireworks illegal. However within hours on a vote of 9 to 6 it was shot down by the House State Affairs Committee.

Dennis Doan, Chief of the Boise Fire Department, released a statement on Monday:

I would like to thank Rep Erpelding for his leadership on this issue. It was clear by the actions of the committee today they do not care about firefighter safety, or if people’s homes and lives are being destroyed by illegal fireworks every year. The exorbitant cost to taxpayers and local governments, and the fact that six homes in Ada County were burned down last year, was not enough to influence their decision to print a bill which would allow a full hearing and dialogue about this important issue.

The ability to purchase illegal fireworks apparently trumps the right of residents to protect their home from fires. This summer when someone’s home burns down due to aerial fireworks you can blame the House State Affairs Committee.

The 2,500-acre Table Rock Fire in the Boise foothills last June was caused by illegal fireworks, burned a home, and cost taxpayers $341,000, according to Chief Doan.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Idaho legislature refuses to close loophole in fireworks regulations”

  1. Meanwhile, a bolt of lightning hits a remote mountainside a month later in the fire season, and echoes around Idaho will bemoan the federal government for not doing everything they could to stop one of the thousands of fires in the state every year.

    Then turn around and complain about federal taxes, regulations, and overreach.

    Ah, to be a My Own Private Idahoan!

    1. In researching current statutes on fireworks laws/use in Idaho, I came across your post. Certainly, the fire danger to life, property and natural resources are at the top of the list to support this legislation, but it needs to go a lot further. Even a sparkler thrown a few feet can start an uncontrollable fire. I live in a housing development in suburban Idaho and the use of totally illegal fireworks sold from stands near my neighborhood has become intolerable. I understand what drives the seller…money; however, I cannot understand my good and well meaning neighbors who insist on using these explosives to celebrate the new year and 4th of July. There seems to be no thought of the sick and infirmed. What about veterans who suffer from PTSD/PTSS? What about our pets that can find no relief in this barrage of fire? What about the costs to staff Fire, Emergency Medical, Animal Control/ Animal Shelters? Is it worth it so that some can be “entertained”. I think that I have the right to be in my own home 24/7 any day of the year without watching my dear old hound cringing and panting in the closet or turning out of bed to see if the roof is burning. Apparently, the majority of our legislators feel threatened somehow by supporting any reform. Wonder why? Perhaps more voice from the voters on this is much needed.


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