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Furlough Friday may have impact on fireworks permits

By Dan Nakaso

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:34 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2010

People wanting to legally shoot off firecrackers to celebrate America's birthday this year on Oahu will have one fewer -- but critical -- day to obtain permits.

With the city's first employee furlough day kicking in on the Friday before the Fourth of July, city officials aren't sure what effect employee furloughs will have on the number of permits issued at Honolulu's satellite city halls.

FIREWORKS PERMITS

Sale of Fourth of July fireworks permits on Oahu

Year Number
2006 229
2007 144
2008 154
2009 119

Source: City and County of Honolulu

Fireworks permits for New Year's, Chinese New Year and the Fourth of July can be obtained up to a year before each celebration. But revelers tend to wait until each celebration gets close, Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig said yesterday.

"It's not easy to predict," Seelig said. "Even though they can get permits any time of the year, people tend to wait until the end."

The $25 permits are required to light up to 5,000 firecrackers. As of Monday, only six permits had been issued, city spokesman Bill Brennan said.

The number of permits issued last year for the Fourth of July -- 119 -- was the lowest in four years. And 29 were issued on the last work day before the weekend, Brennan said.

In 2008, when 154 fireworks permits were issued, 49 were issued on the last work day before July 4, Brennan said.

Fireworks can legally be sold on Oahu starting Tuesday.

For Honolulu firefighters, the Fourth of July season "is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, times of the year to respond to fires, many of which we have reason to believe ... involve the use of fireworks," Seelig said.

This year could be particularly volatile, with lots of tall, dry brush "and not a lot of rain predicted for the summer," Seelig said.

"With the dry season on us," Seelig said, "we're asking everyone to be cautious and only use fireworks on hard surfaces and away from brush."






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