Fireworks went on sale in Whatcom County on Tuesday, June 28, but be careful where and when you set them off. New regulations are in place countywide, and they are outright banned in some places.
These regulations apply to personal fireworks – the “safe and sane” ones you buy at some stands around the county – around the July 4 holiday. Some areas also allow fireworks around New Year’s Eve. These rules do not apply to professional shows or groups that have a permit for a fireworks show, such as the big Blaine and Bellingham shows on July 4.
Bellingham: Illegal inside city limits at all times. Fines for violations start at $250.
Blaine: Legal from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1-3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5. This is the last year for your own fireworks display in west Blaine or Semiahmoo Spit as the City Council recently approved limits that take effect next year.
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Ferndale: Legal to set off only from 9 a.m. to midnight on Independence Day.
Unincorporated Whatcom County: No longer follows the State Fire Marshal’s Office dates and times for legal displays. As of this year, summer fireworks are allowed only from 6 to 11 p.m. July 3 and 5, and 6 p.m. to midnight July 4.
Other cities follow state law, which allows fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. June 28, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29-July 3, 9 a.m. to midnight July 4, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.
Fireworks are banned in parks, Port of Bellingham property, state lands and other public places.
Many fireworks purchased on Indian reservations are illegal off those reservations. Those include:
▪ Bottle rockets
▪ Missile-type rockets with fins
▪ Mortar shells larger than 1 3/4 inches in diameter.
Explosives such as M-80s, tennis ball bombs and pipe bombs are illegal everywhere. Modifying legal fireworks also is a crime, as well as dangerous. A man trying to modify fireworks at a home north of Ferndale in 2011 severely injured himself when they detonated.
Sky lanterns also have new regulations taking effect July 1. They are legal when lit only if they are tethered and under control at all times.