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Hey, jackass! Fireworks are illegal for a reason!

Just in case my little anti-gift tirade before Xmas wasn’t enough to firmly cement my status as a wet blanket, I’m happy to report that I called the police on my mother’s neighbours’ New Year’s Eve party. You see, those damned kids were having too much fun, and I simply won’t stand for any kind of fun-having, especially on evenings dedicated to drunken revelry. I am, after all, a horrible cranky old killjoy (just ask my students!).

Well, that and they were setting off some pretty major fireworks over their backyard, which carried the potential to destroy the entire neighbourhood in a fiery maelstrom.

Lest you think I am exaggerating here, I’ll go over a bit of history.

You see, I have not always lived in the miserable frozen wastelands I currently occupy, but instead grew up amongst the golden hills of semi-arid chaparral. In fact, my mother’s neighbourhood is directly adjacent to a large canyon and many of the homes around her are built right up against largely unmaintained hillsides of local “vegetation,” which after a few months of no precipitation might best be described instead as local kindling. The area is also subject to seasonal winds in wintertime on the order of 40-50mph (65-80 km/h), sometimes for days at a time.

If you think this sounds like a recipe for incredibly dangerous wildfires, you’d be absolutely right. In fact, a fair portion of the neighbourhood was burned down in a major fire about twenty years ago, and it has been completely evacuated on a few more occasions since then.

So you’ll understand why, after repeated local news warnings of “high fire risk,” I got a little irate when the people down the street started setting off fireworks over the unmaintained hillside that borders their house. After all, it wouldn’t take much more than an unlucky spark and a couple of gusts of wind to set the whole hillside ablaze before the fire dept could even arrive to combat it, possibly taking down a number of houses in the process.

Image of a firefighter fighting brushfires in California

This is why we can’t have nice things. Credit: FEMA

Not to mention that fireworks are illegal in the area. Can anybody guess why that might be? Come to think of it, why isn’t wildfire safety taught in schools in areas where there is high risk of wildfires? All I remember from our occasional “fire prevention” lessons in elementary and middle school were the usual things about fire safety in the home. Maybe we need a few more visits from Smokey the Bear, too. Yeah, that’s right, I am advocating fursuiting in schools, wanna fight about it?

Luckily for everyone in the area they ran out of fireworks before anything bad had a chance to happen. I’m not even sure if the police ever followed up on the call I made, given that they probably had other things to worry about on NYE like DUIs, drunken brawls, and the occasional celebratory gunfire. But I hope that next year the only popping I hear at midnight will be from corks, and that I won’t have to spend the first half hour of 2015 on the phone with police dispatch. Because I’d really rather just enjoy my champagne and take a nap.

 

Featured image: NobbiP

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Dan

Dan

Dan has a PhD in historical musicology and has taught music history and theory at a major Canadian university. He mainly studies music from the Italian Renaissance when he's not busy performing stand-up comedy or playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. He occasionally tweets as @incontrariomotu and blogs about geeky stuff at The Otaku Skeptic. He is also the glorious editor-in-chief of School of Doubt.

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