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Drought Doesn't Extinguish Fireworks in Western States

 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press
Spectators watch as fireworks explode overhead during the Fourth of July celebration at Pioneer Park, Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Prescott, Ariz.
Spectators watch as fireworks explode overhead during the Fourth of July celebration at Pioneer Park, Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Prescott, Ariz.Julie Jacobson / AP

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While some places in the West have banned fireworks altogether, due to the longstanding drought conditions, other states are going in the opposite direction: Light 'em if you got 'em. This year, Arizona updated its laws to actually prohibit cities — including Phoenix and Tucson — from banning the use of fireworks around the July 4 holiday. In Texas, legislation to give the state fire marshal the power to enforce stricter rules didn't get far during the last session partly due to the lack of appetite among some lawmakers for imposing more regulations on small businesses.

Other places in the West do restrict fireworks heavily though. In Utah, more than 50 cities and towns have imposed additional restrictions this year due to the fire danger. The same goes for Washington state, where fireworks are banned in all of the biggest cities. Still, from California and Arizona to New Mexico and Oklahoma, fire officials are encouraging people to attend professional fireworks events instead of local light shows.

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—The Associated Press

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