Some states are grappling with just how far they can go in issuing bans. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she considers fireworks a risk that can be avoided, but state law allows cities and counties to ban only certain classifications of fireworks and where they can be used. More than half of the state's 33 counties and its largest cities have already imposed restrictions and urged residents to attend organized events instead of setting off their own.
"We should all be able to agree that preventing fires that could devastate our communities is a priority that transcends politics," said Martinez, who plans to push legislation again next year that would establish a system allowing for specially tailored temporary bans during extreme droughts.
Leaders of the fireworks industry, which brought in nearly $1 billion in sales nationally in 2011, question whether firework bans are legal. Steve Graves, executive director of the Indiana Fireworks Association, said people should be given credit for common sense.
Indiana law allows fireworks from June 29 to July 9 regardless of whether local burn bans are in place. Some communities have declared drought disaster emergencies to enact bans in an attempt to get around the law.
"Instead of talking about safety, they decided to treat Hoosiers like they're a bunch of idiots that can't think for themselves," Graves said.
At the TNT Fireworks stand just outside Helena, Mont., some customers planned to heed the calls to keep their fireworks under wraps for July Fourth, said stand co-owner Anna Richards.
"Would I rather make money or would I rather see Montana burn?" Richards said. "There's more to life than these two weeks."
Wilson reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff in Salt Lake City, Matt Volz in Helena, Mont., and Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, N.M., contributed to this story.
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