City seeks feedback on changes to fireworks rules

Hearing is March 7

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The Camas City Council will accept public comment on Monday, March 7, regarding a proposal to reduce the number of days and hours fireworks are legal within city limits.

The changes that are part of a “preferred option” would make the legal use and sale period run from July 1 to July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight.

The proposal trims the usage period by a total of four days. Currently, for the Fourth of July holiday, sales and use are allowed from June 28 to July 5.

For the New Year’s holiday, legal use days and times would be unchanged. Fireworks can be discharged Dec. 31, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and sold from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31, from noon to 11 p.m., each day.

Although concern about misuse of fireworks has been brought to the attention of the City Council by citizens several times in the past, serious discussions about changing the city’s regulations began in August 2010 after a Camas woman described her a suspicion that her horse’s death in July occurred as a result of becoming spooked after hearing some loud fireworks. The horse later had to be put down.

Some council members agreed that use of fireworks during holiday celebrations has gotten out-of-hand. Others expressed concern that allowing a shorter sales period might impact the non-profit groups that sell fireworks as a means of fund-raising.

Police Chief Mitch Lackey has said that he believes more a restrictive law — like the one being proposed by Camas — could be successfully enforced.

“It’s doable,” he said. “With the public education we do, complaints are way down.”

Camas’s neighbor to the east has some of the strictest Fourth of July fireworks regulations in Clark County. As of 2009, in Washougal fireworks are only allowed to be discharged on July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight. However, they can be purchased from June 28 to July 5.

The Camas City Council public hearing will be held March 7, during the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 616 N.E. Fourth Ave.

If new rules are eventually approved by Camas City Council, the changes would take effect one year from adoption.