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Will Dry Conditions Cancel Falls' Fireworks?

Police chief says parade will go on, and decision on fireworks depends on the wind speed.

Village police and fire officials are monitoring weather conditions day to day and say it’s still unclear whether the Menomonee Falls Fourth of July fireworks will go off as scheduled on July 3.

Police Chief Anna Ruzinski told Patch the decision will depend largely on two factors: wind speed and whether the Falls gets rain before Tuesday

“We recognize that this is one of the largest family holidays in the Falls, and we recognize how important it is,” Ruzinski said. “But we also want it to be the safest. If there are not strong winds, we can do it.”

Police and fire officials have been meeting on the issue this week.

Officials will start monitoring the situation more closely on Sunday, she said. “We are playing it day-by-day. Right now, it’s too early to tell.”

She said the parade will go on no matter what.

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Ruzinski also reminded people to not use illegal fireworks, saying that officials will be actively citing those who do. And she reminded village residents to adhere to the on June 14.

It’s all about a concern that conditions are so dry in Menomonee Falls that fires could ignite if people aren’t careful due to flying embers or sparks.

“It’s more dangerous this year,” she said.

According to the village website, the Independence Day parade starts at 7 p.m. on Appleton and Elm (near Sentry) and travels up Appleton to Woosencraft Drive, then to Menomonee Falls High School. Ruzinski said police will close Appleton Avenue 24 hours before the parade to allow people to claim an area to watch it.

On Thursday, Ruzinski released a letter to the community explaining changes in how people claim spots for the parade. Due to safety concerns, she said no one will be able to "lay claim" to a spot for the parade before 7 p.m. on July 2.

The fireworks, if they are not canceled, will start at dark (between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m.) and are shot from the Menomonee Falls High School practice field. The parade and fireworks are sponsored by the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club.

Ruzinski said that fire officials have been watering the field where the fireworks will be fired from as a precautionary measure. She said she’s never seen a drier build-up to the Fourth of July holiday in her five years as police chief.

Right now, weather predictions suggest wind speed of 12 mph.

“If it stops at that, we will probably be OK,” she said. Similarly, there’s a chance for rain on Friday and Sunday. If that happens, the fireworks could go off as scheduled even if wind speeds quicken somewhat.

The police chief said the village is taking other precautionary measures for the fireworks, if they go off as scheduled:

  • Fire trucks will be on the scene ready to respond
  • Authorities will set up a command post for police and fire
  • They’re reaching out to Lannon about getting a vehicle with a mini pumper on it
  • They are watering the athletic field nightly where the fireworks are shot off from. One issue is that the field has “no water nearby,” said Ruzinski.

As for illegal fireworks, the chief said the only fireworks that are legal to set off in the village without a permit are sparklers, caps, and snakes. Fireworks that are illegal include bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers, she said.

“We will actively enforce that ban,” she said, noting that the penalty is $844.80 without a permit. It’s “extremely hard” to get a village permit to set off fireworks, she added.

“People need to resist the temptation to use illegal fireworks,” she said, adding that the village has not had a problem with businesses selling them.

The more general burn ban includes any type of brush burning, recreational fires, or wood burning of any kind. Charcoal and gas grills are permitted. The fine is $177. The ban will be in effect under further notice dictated by weather conditions, according to a flyer released previously by fire and police officials.

Craig June 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Fireworks are illegal, yet the trailer pictured above sells mortar shells- where is it legal to use them?
Jessica McBride June 28, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I focused on Menomonee Falls' regulations. Not sure on all other communities.
Steve ® June 28, 2012 at 07:49 PM
From uncle sams: A "User's Permit" is required according to state statue 167.10 to legally possess Consumer Fireworks. The permits issued by the Town of Wayne (For $4.00) are 100% state legal. - - - - - Purchase of fireworks is not illegal in some areas. Lighting them off is without permit, unless you are in certain towns. More google machine to find that out
Craig June 28, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Steve: The vendor in Lannon doesn't require a signature on a permit- they even sold a few hundred bucks worth to my 17 year old last year. I didn't allow them to be ignited because of my location, they are just sitting collecting dust next to my clothes dryer. Now that I think about it, I should move them to a better location. ;-)
Steve ® June 28, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I was buying fireworks from Uncle sams every year in highschool and maybe even middle school. There is no age restriction in the state. Every town, village, city will have different rules on fireworks and if they need a permit or not. Probably want to move those away from the dryer, safer to light them off ;) http://www.doj.state.wi.us/site/fireworks.asp http://www.townofmiltonwi.com/uploads/images/WI%20Fireworks%20Law.pdf
Craig June 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Thanks for the info Steve. I guess I am in violation just by having them.
Jann June 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Craig, just an FYI I know someone who got a $400 ticket in Milwaukee for having firecrackers. It wasn't any holiday and he wasn't lighting them. They saw he had them and wrote a ticket. This stuff can be purchased in a lot of places, but then not legal to light. If there is a burning ban on then these should not even be sold this year in my opinion. Many cities have a burning ban on.
Jann June 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I guess I should have said they are not legal to even have, let alone light.
Cx2plusE@aol.com June 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM
To dry for fireworks.
Mary Schlumpf June 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
The Optimist club sponsors the parade but not the fireworks.
jerry mislang June 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I believe the fireworks are normally launched from the practice fields, not Schumann Stadium. With all the people partying with coolers, they should be able to 'pop a top' and put any small fire out....just kidding.

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