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Firecracker permits down 15 percent under shorter deadline

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The city issued nearly 4,000 firecracker permits Wednesday, the last day they were available for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration.

Even so, the total number of permits issued is significantly less than last year.

The Honolulu Fire Department reported Thursday that 8,461 permits were issued by end of business Wednesday, down about 15 percent from the 10,008 permits sold last year.

Each $25 permit, which were available at satellite city halls, entitle each permit holder to buy up to 5,000 common firecrackers. There was no limit to how many permits a person could buy.

Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig said a new city ordinance that took effect after last New Year’s may be a key reason for the drop in firecracker permits issued.

The law requires the city to stop issuing permits 10 days before New Year’s Eve, or Dec. 21. Previously, Oahu residents had until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 to purchase firecracker permits.

The new city ordinance also bans all novelty fireworks — including sparklers and fountains — and this will be the first New Year’s under that prohibition. Aerial fireworks were already banned.

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