Residents who like to gather friends and family to set off their own fireworks on the Fourth of July will have to come up with a new tradition to celebrate the holiday.

Residents who like to gather friends and family to set off their own fireworks on the Fourth of July will have to come up with a new tradition to celebrate the holiday.

An Ashland City Council majority voted on Tuesday to ban the personal use of fireworks citywide.

The ban won't affect the official display of fireworks that explode in the sky.

The council had decided to ban personal fireworks citywide in October 2009, but the issue was reopened when city staff asked for permission to evaluate a system in which residents could apply for fireworks permits from Ashland Fire & Rescue.

With the fire department already busy during hot, dry summers and short-staffed due to budget cuts, a council majority decided the permitting idea simply wasn't workable.

Residents would have had to pay a fee and meet a number of conditions, including providing the signature of an adult who would have assumed responsibility for all property damage and injuries. Firefighters would have inspected each site where residents wanted to set off fireworks.

In 2009, Ashland Fire Chief John Karns had proposed a ban on fireworks above Siskiyou Boulevard — where homes begin to meld into the forested hills above town — because he didn't think council members would vote for a citywide ban. Past efforts to get a citywide ban have failed.

Karns said on Tuesday night that the citywide ban adopted by the council will have the least impact on overstretched firefighters and will reduce the number of ignition sources.

— Vickie Aldous