Sonoma County residents divided over 'safe and sane' fireworks

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Who would expect an argument about July 4th fireworks? In fire-scarred Sonoma County, they have seen this coming.

Four cities -- Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and Cloverdale -- still allow the sale of "safe and sane" fireworks. Now they have become controversial, as well.

"We do good work," said Robin Merrill of the Elim Lutheran Church.

RELATED: Bay Area Fourth of July Fireworks and Events 2018

They have sold fireworks in Petaluma for seven years and raised tens of thousands of dollars for disaster relief across the nation.

"I'm conflicted," added Judy Peterson. "But I have a thing about honoring commitments."

Merrill adds, "We expect some push-back. But we hand out pamphlets and warn every person to set these off in safe places."

RELATED: Fun facts you might not know about 'The Star-Spangled Banner'

That attitude hardly silences critics of the practice.

"Safe and sane fireworks can still start fires," said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal. "They pose a significant threat to our city."

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.