fireworks

Bellingham not allowed at all, Ferndale just the Fourth, Lynden July 1-5

WHATCOM ­— When consumer fireworks may be set off in Washington State — in some places as early as June 28 and in some places not at all — brings up a spectacular display of different times varying by jurisdiction.
 
Restrictions of days or hours have flared upward in recent years.
 
Lynden has remained one of the more open places to set off fireworks, with five days allowed, July 1-5. That has been true since 2015.
 
Bellingham allows no personal fireworks at all.  Ferndale allows them only on the Fourth.
 
Also, this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the big Haggen Fourth of July Celebration fireworks display over Bellingham Bay is cancelled. 
 
The earliest in a day that fireworks may be set off is 9 a.m. The latest is usually 11 p.m., except to midnight on the Fourth.
 
This is the varied picture, from least restrictive to most restrictive:
 
Sumas
 
Sumas stays with the state’s basic schedule, allowing fireworks discharge already at noon June 28 and continuing each day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 3, 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4, and back to 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5.
 
Lynden
 
Lynden allows July 1-5 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., with the day’s cutoff extended to midnight on the Fourth and shortened to 9 p.m. on July 5.
 
Everson and Nooksack
 
These two adjoining towns are on the same track, which is 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3-5, extended to midnight on the Fourth.
 
Whatcom County
 
The unincorporated county’s schedue is 6 to 11 p.m. on July 3, 6 p.m to midnight on July 4, and 6 to 11 p.m. on July 5.
 
Ferndale
 
Ferndale allows discharge from 9 a.m. to midnight on the Fourth.
 
Blaine
 
Blaine allows from 10 a.m. to midnight on the holiday only.
 
Bellingham
 
No discharge of personal fireworks allowed, since 2014.
 
Fireworks are not permitted on state or federally controlled lands, including parks, National Forest, state Fish & Wildlife or Department of Natural Resources jurisdictions. 
 
Which fireworks are legal? Essentially, those purchased at sales stands around most of Whatcom County are permitted by county and state law, according to the county Fire Marshal’s Office in Planning & Development Servies. However, any items bought from a tribal reservation stand, operating under tribal sovereignty rules, must by law remain on the reservation.
 
It is also illegal to modify a legal firework in any way, says the county fire marshal. The following items are illegal to possess or use off-reservation: firecrackers, bottle rockets, missile-type rockets with fins, fireworks with sticks or fins that fly, and reloadable mortar shells larger than 1.75 inches in diameter.
 
Explosives such as M-80s, M-100s, Tennis Ball Bombs and pipe bombs are illegal everywhere and are considered an explosive device. Possession or use of these items can result in criminal charges.
 
How about sky lanterns? Sky lanterns are not a firework, but are regulated by state and county fire code. Sky lanterns are only allowed to be lit as long as they are tethered (by a kite string, twine, etc.) and controlled at all times. Any fire started by a sky lantern may be charged both civilly and criminally.
 
Any possession or use of illegal fireworks can result in both civil and criminal penalties, including the cost of a fire department’s response extinguishing any fire caused by fireworks.
 
You should call 911 only to report fires, injuries or circumstances immediately hazardous to life or property. Many legal fireworks are quite loud and are often mistaken for illegal fireworks, resulting in many unwarranted 911 phone calls each year that draw law enforcement and fire departments away from true emergencies.
 
Over the Fourth holiday, the county fire marshal will work with the sheriff’s office in enforcement of fireworks discharge regulations.