Officials urge caution with fireworks

Temperatures will remain in the 90s this week

Camas

The sale, purchase and discharge of consumer fireworks in Camas 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 be purchased and sold between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. -- discharge is not allowed.

Washougal

Fireworks can be sold July 2-4, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., however, discharge is only allowed on July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight.

Clark County

In unincorporated Clark County, fireworks season began June 28. Fireworks can be legally discharged daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 3; and July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight. They can be sold daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., through July 4.

Camas

The sale, purchase and discharge of consumer fireworks in Camas 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 be purchased and sold between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. — discharge is not allowed.

Washougal

Fireworks can be sold July 2-4, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., however, discharge is only allowed on July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight.

Clark County

In unincorporated Clark County, fireworks season began June 28. Fireworks can be legally discharged daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 3; and July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight. They can be sold daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., through July 4.

The sale of fireworks in Camas and Washougal begins this week, and with recent prolonged dry weather and record-breaking temperatures, local residents and city officials are expressing concerns about the potential increased risk for fires.

Camas City Administrator Pete Capell said Monday that some citizens have suggested fireworks should be banned this year. This action, he explained, is easier said than done.

“State statute does not allow us to ban fireworks with such short notice,” he said. “The only way it could be done is through an emergency order from the governor. Given the difficulty any jurisdiction would have enforcing such a last minute ban, we don’t expect the governor to provide this proclamation.”

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee did issue an emergency order for all 38 of the state’s counties to prepare for extreme wildfire risk. The Department of Natural Resources also expanded its burn ban to prohibit fires and campfires on state lands, parks and forests.

“Fireworks, while often part of our Fourth of July celebration, pose an increased risk with the extremely dry conditions we’re experiencing this year,” Inslee said in a press release. “We’re strongly urging people to not use them this year and celebrate in a different way.”

The emergency proclamation gives the Washington State Department of Natural Resources the ability to call on the resources of the National Guard and the State Guard on short notice to assist in responding to wildfires.

Locally, Camas-Washougal Fire Department Division Chief-Fire Marshal Ron Schumacher urged citizens to use caution.

Temperatures are forecasted to remain in the 90s through the weekend.

“We are asking people to be vigilant in their use of fireworks, because of the extreme dry conditions,” he said. “Have a garden hose ready. Dispose of fireworks properly.”

Schumacher pointed to the fire department’s website, www.cityofcamas.us/index.php/firemain, as a resource for information about local rules and regulations, which vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

In the city of Washougal, the legal discharge of fireworks is only allowed on July 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight.

Within Camas city limits, fireworks can be discharged July 1 through July 3, between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., and July 4, between 9 a.m. and midnight.

According to Schumacher, the CWFD will have a brush crew patrolling within the Camas and Washougal city limits on July 4, and the department will be coordinating with law enforcement in both cities.

Camas Police Department Captain Shyla Nelson urged those who decide to detonate fireworks to “use common sense.”

“Our response is going to be the same as in years’ past,” she said. “We’ll have a higher number of staff out during the July 4 holiday. Our guys will be on patrol, and if they see any unsafe behaviors they are going to address it. We strongly prefer giving warnings for first violations. We do have zero tolerance for (improvised explosive devices).”

Explosive devices that are illegal include M-80s, pipe bombs, cherry bombs, tennis ball bombs, legal fireworks that are altered and dry ice bombs. 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.

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 3/4-inch or smaller.

Legal fireworks will be available to purchase from stands located in the Camas-Washougal area.

Permits have been issued for vendors in Washougal at Westlie Ford, 115 S. First St., Bi-Mart, 3003 Addy St., and Evergreen Marketplace, 3307 Evergreen Way.

In Camas, stands will be located in parking lots at Lacamas Center, 3300 N.E. Third Ave., Gunderson Les Schwab Tire Center, 2375 S.E. Eighth Ave., Safeway, 800 N.E. Third Ave., Hilltop Market, 1408 N.E. Everett St. and at 2305 S.E. Eighth Ave.

Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway said, however, that he would rather see people consider other options to celebrate Independence Day this year.

“Under the current conditions, with the dry fuels and continued hot weather in the forecast, I strongly encourage folks to enjoy a professional fireworks display, such as the one at Fort Vancouver,” he said. “Using consumer fireworks will be hazardous this year, especially in rural areas of the county where the wildfire danger is highest. The safest thing would be to leave it to the pros.”

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