By: Bill Schammert
Head a couple miles outside of Lincoln in any direction, and you're likely to see plenty of fireworks stands open and ready for business. Kirk Myers with Kracklin Kirk's in Hickman expects to sell nearly a million pounds of fireworks over the next ten days.
"I actually look at 700 to 800 items every year and cherry pick which ones will show up in the stands," Myers said.
Myers runs eight stands throughout Nebraska and also serves as a wholesale distributor to some others. But, as the busiest season of the year for firefighters approaches, safety is paramount.
"Where we see our injuries is where the youth are being allowed to shoot them," Lincoln Fire Inspector, Don Gross, said. "Either they've not been taught properly or they've not been given the right tools."
Those tools include using at least a six-inch lighter or a wooden punk to avoid getting too close to the flames, Gross said.
Technically, if you're outside city limits, you can light fireworks off at any time of the year. To buy and sell, you had to wait until Wednesday, July 25th. As for inside the city of Lincoln, it won't be legal to use or buy fireworks until Thursday, July 3rd at 8:00 a.m.
"It's the late night hours when people are lighting them on a continued basis that citizens become less pleased with," Gross said. "Our regulations are for noise abatement purposes."
Laws have loosened in recent years, but not everything's legal. You can't use any fireworks purchased over state lines, bottle rockets, nighttime parachutes or sparklers with metal wires.
If you do live inside the Lincoln and are caught lighting fireworks early, Gross says you can expect a citation and authorities to confiscate your Fourth of July fun.