The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and those who like to celebrate with fireworks should know that the rules and regulations governing their sale and use vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In Camas city limits, a new set of laws was implemented in 2012. According to the guidelines, the sale, purchase and discharge of consumer fireworks are allowed July 1 through July 3, between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., and July 4, between 9 a.m. and midnight. On July 5, fireworks can only be purchased and sold between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. — discharge is not allowed.
In unincorporated Clark County, fireworks can be legally discharged June 28, from noon to 11 p.m.; June 29 through July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight. They can be sold from noon on June 28 to 11 p.m. on July 4.
Within Washougal city limits, it is legal to sell fireworks from noon to 11 p.m., June 28; from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., June 29 through July 4; and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on July 5. However, fireworks can only be discharged on July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight
It should be noted that next year, in July 2014, Washougal residents will need to adjust to some changes to fireworks regulations. Earlier this month, the City Council approved an ordinance change that limits sales to between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., July 2 through July 4. Discharge will still only be allowed on July 4. The new rules go into effect one year from approval.
Fireworks legal in Washington include novelty and smoke items, sparklers and spinners, multi-aerials, helicopters, cones and fountains, wheels, roman candles and re-loadable mortars — 1 ¾-inch or smaller.
Fireworks that are only legal on tribal lands include firecrackers and chasers, bottle rockets, missiles and rockets.
Explosive devices that are illegal include M-80s, cherry bombs, tennis ball bombs, legal fireworks that are altered and dry ice bombs.
CPD Capt. Shyla Nelson said patrol officers will focus on educating the public in most circumstances, but zero tolerance will be applied to individuals caught with improvised explosive devices.
“We have increased staffing over the holiday, and our officers will be focused on our neighborhoods,” she said.
Washougal Police Chief Ron Mitchell said that while no additional officers will be put on duty to patrol local neighborhoods during the holiday, two officers on overtime will be patrolling the Independence Day activities that are being held on July 4, at Marina Park.
“They we be stationed at the event from late afternoon until around midnight,” he said. “We may have a reserve officer or two out helping patrol or at the Port.”
Possession of illegal explosive devices, including altered legal fireworks, is considered a felony. Penalties for illegal possession and use of fireworks can be up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail.