Ring in Bellingham New Year without a bang

There are many fine ways to ring in the new year in Bellingham, but for the first time it’s not OK to do so with a bang, as fireworks are now banned in city limits.

Bellingham Police Department will have extra officers working on New Year’s Eve to catch people driving under the influence, respond to complaints about out-of-control parties, and potentially hand out tickets to anyone using fireworks.

The ban on fireworks was voted into place by the City Council in 2013 and took effect June 18 this year. The ban covers virtually all fireworks that need to be lit by a match or lighter.

Some small pyrotechnic fun is still allowed: Novelty items that can be purchased in stores year-round, like confetti-filled party poppers, are fine to use.

Some fireworks are illegal everywhere in the state, including M-80s, cherry bombs, tennis ball bombs, and similar explosives.

Officers can seize illegal fireworks immediately, and people caught violating the city ban can be fined a minimum of $250 and up to $1,000.

In addition to noting the ban, the police department, in a news release, reminded residents to be polite when hosting parties, and encouraged people to talk to neighbors ahead of time and share a phone number so anyone with a problem can call hosts directly if things become too noisy. Party hosts are responsible for their guests, so police say it’s a good idea to pay attention to how sober people are and to prevent them from driving away drunk or high.