New Camas, Washougal fireworks rules carry stiff fines

Port to host Fourth of July celebration at Washougal Waterfront Park

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(Photo courtesy of city of Washougal) Fireworks explode over the 2016 Port of Camas-Washougal Fourth of July celebration. This year's event will be held July 4, starting at 6 p.m., at the Washougal Waterfront Park.

Used to setting off fireworks on or near the Fourth of July holiday in Camas or Washougal? Be aware that the laws surrounding fireworks in both cities have changed and there are stiff penalties for violating the new city ordinances.

Residents may discharge fireworks in either city from 9 a.m. to midnight on Thursday, July 4, but there are differences in the types of fireworks allowed in Camas versus Washougal.

Washougal limits  use to ‘safe and sane’ fireworks

In November 2017, after hearing from a variety of citizens upset by the noise, fire hazards and litter caused by annual fireworks displays throughout Washougal neighborhoods, city leaders in that city voted to limit personal fireworks to the “safe and sane” variety. That ordinance took one year to take effect and is applicable to this week’s Fourth of July holiday.

In Washougal, legal fireworks include sparklers, smokeballs, snake-type fireworks, ground-spinning fireworks, pinwheels and fountains.

According to the new city ordinance, fireworks that “fly, explode or travel more than 1 foot into the air or more than 6 fetd on the ground,” including firecrackers, aerial missiles and spinners, rockets, salutes, chasers, Roman candles and mortar-type fireworks, are all banned in Washougal.

Violating the city’s ordinance is punishable by a civil infraction and fine. The first offense carries a fine of $250, while second and third offenses carry fines of $500 and $750, respectively. Each subsequent offense within a three-year period has a fine of $1,000.

Additionally, police may seize any illegal fireworks in Washougal.

First year for Camas’ new ordinance

The Camas City Council also faced citizen outcry over the use of personal fireworks in 2017 and 2018.

The councilors considered several options, including an outright ban on personal fireworks, but instead chose to keep the type of fireworks the city had always allowed and instead limit the number of days on which residents can discharge their fireworks.

Camas residents may discharge fireworks — including the “aerial” and “rocket” type fireworks banned in Washougal — from 9 a.m. to midnight, Thursday, July 4.

The city also gave permission for the Camas-Washougal Fire Marshal, Camas Police and code enforcement officers to issue citations and fines for people using illegal fireworks or for discharging fireworks outside the 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4 limitations.

The fines are similar to Washougal’s, with the first offense carrying a $250 fine, the second a $500 fine, the third a $750 fine and subsequent violations within three years having $1,000 fines.

Port to host display, concert on waterfront

The Port of Camas-Washougal will again host a Fourth of July celebration at the Washougal Waterfront Park, with live music starting at 6 p.m., and a fireworks display beginning at 10 p.m., Thursday, July 4.

This year’s concert lineup includes The Junebugs, a Portland trio that describes their sound as having “a dreamy, sweet quality reminiscent of Neil Young and Iron & Wine, peppered with fiery banjo lines,” from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; and 5 Guys Named Moe, a 12-piece Portland dance band that plays everything from Motown and ’60s rock and roll to dance hits from the ’70s and ’80s, from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

The celebration, presented in part by Columbia Credit Union, also will include food carts and a beer garden.

Signs near the Washougal Waterfront Park, at 56 S. First St., Washougal, will direct drivers to the nearby parking area.

The fireworks display is courtesy of the city of Washougal and Mark Marine.