FERNDALE - The future of fireworks in Ferndale is still up in the air, as City Council will continue to discuss a potential ban or restrictions at its next meeting.
More than a dozen people shared their views on a potential ban at the council's meeting Monday, July 21. Some spoke in favor of a ban and others decried the lost freedom and tradition that would come with a ban, but many speakers seemed to agree that limiting fireworks to July 4 could be an acceptable compromise.
The city's fireworks laws currently match those of the state: They are allowed from noon to 11 p.m. June 28, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3, 9 a.m. to midnight July 4, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5, as well as 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve.
The topic will go back to the public safety and neighborhood services committee and be up for discussion again at the council's Aug. 4 meeting, to give council members a chance to hear from more residents about what they'd like done.
Councilman Brent Goodrich said he was torn between the idea of a ban and the challenge of enforcing it. He wondered what would keep people from going to the nearby Lummi Reservation to buy fireworks. Since the fireworks that seem to be causing the most concerns and complaints likely are products that already are illegal, Councilman Keith Olson wasn't sure how a total ban would change things.
"Everything we're having a problem with is already banned and we can't keep this stuff out," he said.
Police Chief Michael Knapp said a full ban is easier for officers to enforce than a partial one. With fireworks allowed only on July 4, he said the city would face all the same issues it does now - risk of fire, injury, property damage and disruptions - but only on one day.
A few speakers expressed concern for their pets and their safety and described more than a week of explosions when they called for a ban. Others said their families enjoyed the tradition of lighting off fireworks safely to celebrate their country and their freedom. Ferndale mom Stacy Miller likened fireworks to swimming: There's a risk of drowning, but she still lets her kids do it.
"It's that piece of America that's still left to us," she said of fireworks on the Fourth. "For most people, the fireworks remind us of freedom."