Smoky air hangs over Fresno after 4th of July, city might ban all fireworks

But the city is also considering the impact on churches, sports teams, and other groups that rely on the stands to raise funds.

Dale Yurong Image
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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Fresno officials have begun discussions that may lead to a ban on the sale of 'safe and sane' fireworks to end the annual spike in poor air quality.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Without strong winds to clear the smoke from the 4th of July fireworks, it tended to sit over the Valley and cause a spike in bad air quality.

Doctors say it can be especially difficult for people with respiratory problems to enjoy the dazzling displays.

"I usually see a lot of patients with complaints of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and wheezing," says Fresno allergist Dr. Praveen Buddiga.

The air quality wasn't as bad as a year ago because of the milder weather.

The Valley Air District prefers people attend the bigger shows held in stadiums because the smoke from 'safe and sane' fireworks that you buy tends to stick around longer.

"Folks that live in neighborhoods know this. All that stuff stays ground level. That smoke is very toxic. It's harmful to people's health," says Cassandra Melching with the Valley Air District.

Because of health concerns and the fire hazard, Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias says officials have begun discussions which may ultimately lead to a ban on the sale of 'safe and sane' fireworks. But they're also considering the impact on churches, sports teams, and other groups that rely on the stands to raise funds.

"How do we hold public fireworks shows that generate revenue for these local non-profits and get them out of the business of having to do private use fireworks across the city?" he says.

Under that scenario, the city would also stage fireworks shows at Bulldog Stadium or McLane High and have non-profit groups host food booths or possibly share in the profits from the event.

"I think the answer has to be, we have to hold them harmless and give them an alternative source of generating that revenue and I think we can do that," says Arias.

Fresno is home to one of the dirtiest air basins in the country.

The city seeks ways to end the annual spike in poor air quality.

Discussions over a possible ban on fireworks sales will continue for at least the next few weeks.