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Dry conditions, upcoming fireworks celebrations spark worry for Edmonton fire chief


New Year's Eve is just around the corner, and many Edmontonians will head to Churchill Square to watch the annual fireworks display.

But the lack of rain and snow over the last few months has Edmonton's fire chief concerned.

"Even the New Year's fireworks, there's some concern because it's still pretty dry," Joe Zatylny said.

In November, there were dozens of fireworks complaints and 17 fires as people set off fireworks to celebrate Diwali.

Most of the people lighting the fireworks did not have permits, according to one city councillor.

"If you are not trained, and you don't have a permit, you cannot shoot off fireworks," Zatylny said.

This coming weekend, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has approved eight fireworks permits.

The owner of Uncle John's Fireworks says it's become next to impossible for individuals to get a fireworks permit in the city.

"You have to not just be a professional, but you have to have very expensive insurance which really puts it out of the reach of not only most people but most communities," said John Adria.

Adria says the strict fireworks regulation is only encouraging people to tell on one another, so those who are going to use fireworks in the city aren't using them at their homes.

"Instead of people doing it on their driveway where it's safe, where the grass is cut and mowed, they're going to parks. And we don't cut the grass in some of the parks and now that's causing problems," he explained.

People using fireworks are advised to make sure it's a Canadian product, wear goggles and keep everyone at least 100 metres away. Top Stories

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