Ferndale restricts fireworks to July 4, Dec. 31

Starting in 2016, people will be able to set off fireworks in the city only on the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.

The Ferndale City Council approved those restrictions Monday, Sept. 15, by a vote of 6-1. Councilman Keith Olson was the lone no vote.

“To me, this is just feel-good legislation on their part. This isn’t going to solve anything,” Olson explained in an interview.

The fireworks restriction begins September 2015. It cuts seven days around the Fourth of July that people can light off fireworks.

The City Council held a number of public hearings throughout the summer about possibly banning or restricting fireworks in the city, after Councilwoman Cathy Watson expressed concern that fireworks activity in the city was escalating. She also said she’d heard from people in her neighborhood who were worried about the safety of aerial rockets exploding over their homes.

The hearings drew supporters who said weeks of loud explosions were disruptive for their families and their pets, as well as opponents who thought an outright ban would destroy a longstanding American tradition.

Olson said the complaints focused on illegal fireworks that were purchased from the Lummi Reservation.

“Making it illegal again isn’t going to do anything to stop that,” he said.

Before the final vote, councilman Jon Mutchler introduced a measure to have the Fourth of July be the only day when residents could set off fireworks.

“I felt like just having it one day would make that one day valuable and special to folks and maybe focus more on what the meaning was rather than make a lot of noise and a lot of mess,” Mutchler said in an interview.

The block of days in and around the Fourth of July next year will be the last under the city’s existing rules, which follow those of the state.

That means in 2015, fireworks will be allowed 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 New Year’s Eve from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

Starting in 2016, fireworks will be restricted to 9 a.m. to midnight July 4. The New Year’s Eve window for fireworks will remain the same.

The measure also will restrict sales of fireworks in Ferndale from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1 through July 4.

Violators could be fined $250 to $1,000.