Local

Here’s where and when you can use fireworks in Whatcom County this Fourth of July

Take a speedy trip through Bellingham’s 2018 fireworks

The Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Haggen Northwest Fresh and the Port of Bellingham presented the annual fireworks over Bellingham Bay July 4, 2018. This time-lapse video condenses the show.
Up Next
The Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Haggen Northwest Fresh and the Port of Bellingham presented the annual fireworks over Bellingham Bay July 4, 2018. This time-lapse video condenses the show.

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and you’re ready to celebrate.

Here are some things you should know if your plans include fireworks — be they displays you want to see or ones you want to light off yourself.

When can I legally buy fireworks?

Statewide, fireworks are sold from noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 4; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 5, according to the Washington State Patrol.

When can I light fireworks?

For consumer fireworks, it depends on where you are in Whatcom County and its cities, according to the Washington State Patrol and municipalities here.

This is what you need to know:

Bellingham: Forget about setting off fireworks in city limits. That’s been banned since 2014. Fines range from $250 up to $1,000 for violating the rule. Police and fire officials can seize your fireworks.

Blaine: 10 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Everson: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

Ferndale: 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Lynden: 9 a.m. to 11 pm. July 1 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 5.

Nooksack: 9 a.m. to 11 pm. July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

Sumas follows state law: 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.

Unincorporated Whatcom County, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 3; 6 p.m. to midnight July 4; and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

Which fireworks are legal?

In general, if you buy fireworks from licensed stands in cities and unincorporated Whatcom County, they’re legal. If you’re not sure, check with your municipality.

If you buy fireworks from stands on Indian reservations, they’re legal as long as you stay on tribal lands.

Which fireworks are illegal to possess?

The Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office said you can’t have or fire these fireworks off tribal land:

firecrackers,

bottle rockets,

missile type rockets with fins,

fireworks with sticks or fins,

mortar shells larger than 1 ¾-inch in diameter.

Additionally, fireworks that are illegal everywhere in the state include M-80s, M-100s, tennis ball bombs, pipe bombs and those that have been altered. Possessing or lighting them could result in criminal charges.

Still not sure about what fireworks are illegal? Go to wsp.wa.gov/fireworks

Where can I see public fireworks displays?

Officials would rather you leave the fireworks to the experts.

If you feel the same way, check out these public displays planned around Whatcom County, although they’re not all on July 4.

Sumas: The fireworks display begins at dusk on Saturday, June 29, at Howard Bowen Park as part of Community Days festivities.

Bellingham: The Bellingham Bells will have a post-game show following their 6:35 p.m. game against Portland on Saturday, June 29, at Joe Martin Field.

The primary fireworks display in the city starts around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4. It’s put on by the Port of Bellingham, Haggen and the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. You can view them at Zuanich Point Park at Squalicum Harbor as part of a celebration that starts at 2 p.m. Parking will be limited so walk, ride your bike or take the shuttle. You also can walk or ride your bike to Granary Avenue and Waypoint Park to watch the fireworks. Details: cob.org/news.

Birch Bay: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, over the Birch Bay Bible Community Church at Bay and Blaine roads. A family carnival at the church starts at 6:30 p.m.

Blaine: Fireworks start at 10:15 p.m. Thursday, July 4, over Blaine Marine Park as part of the Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Details: blainechamber.com/4th-of-july

Everson: Deming Speedway is having a fireworks display as part of its Mid-Season Championship on Friday, July 5. Racing starts at 7 p.m.

The state patrol has a list of other fireworks shows around the state on its website.

Fireworks 2018 1
Fireworks light up the night sky July 4, 2018 over Bellingham Bay at the close of the Haggen 4th of July celebration. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

Your fireworks landed in some bushes? What do you do?

Fireworks caused a total of 63 wildland and vegetation fires statewide in 2017, the latest data available from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

That resulted in $8,600 in loss and damages.

What should you do if your fireworks land in the grass, bushes or other vegetated areas? Heavily soak the space with a hose or bucket of water to make sure hot spots don’t remain.

If you’re found to be responsible for starting a wildland fire, you might have pay restitution for the damages and the cost of putting it out.

Fireworks also were behind 262 injuries and 20 other fires in 2017, most of them occurring around the Fourth of July, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The fires resulted in losses of $50,550.

Every year around the Fourth of July holiday, emergency departments see an influx of injuries caused by fireworks. Mayo Clinic experts say your hands, face and eyes are particularly vulnerable.

National Safety Council tips

We know, we know. Safety tips are a bit “bah-humbug” for the Fourth of July.

But keep in mind that, nationally, eight people died in 2017 and more than 1,200 were hurt badly enough to need medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

So here’s how to keep yourself and others safe:

Don’t let young children handle fireworks. That includes sparklers, which can burn at about 2,000 degrees or as hot as a blow torch. More than 25 percent of trips to the emergency room for fireworks injuries were caused by sparklers, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Older children should use them only under adult supervision.

Wear protective eye-wear if you’re near fireworks. About 14 percent of fireworks injuries occur to the eyes.

If you’re drinking or doing drugs, don’t light fireworks.

Don’t hold lit fireworks in your hands. Not surprisingly, 31 percent of fireworks injuries occur on hands or fingers.

Don’t light them indoors.

Use fireworks away from people, homes and flammable material.

Don’t throw or point fireworks at another person.

Light one at a time and move to a safe distance after lighting.

Don’t light fireworks in a container.

If your firework seems like a dud, don’t try to re-light or handle it.

Keep a buck of water nearby in case of fire.

Soak spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before throwing them away.

Don’t light illegal fireworks.

Actor Edward James Olmos and his four-legged friend Moe want you to know that for animals, fireworks aren't festive — they're frightening and sometimes fatal.



American Veterinary Medical Association tips for pets

Don’t bring pets to fireworks displays in case they get spooked by the loud noise.

Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during a party or fireworks.

Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.

Make sure your pet has a microchip or an identification tag with up-to-date information, in case it runs off.

Nooksack fireworks rules were corrected on June 26, 2019.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
  Comments