By Max Erikson firstname.lastname@example.org
This year marks America’s 242nd Independence Day celebration and nothing is more associated with the Fourth of July as fireworks. America’s first Independence Day was celebrated in 1777 one year after the declaration, and historians believe fireworks were part of the celebration to boost morale during the height of the revolutionary war.
Today, most cities in the State of Washington have passed laws making it illegal to use fireworks, even on the Fourth of July, including the city of Lynnwood. It is prohibited to use fireworks on any public property including schools, parking lots, streets or sidewalks, and state and county parks. It is also illegal to use fireworks on private land.
According to the official city website it reads:
“Unlawful use and possession of fireworks, depending on the type, could range from a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor—with a fine up to $1,000 and possible jail time—to a class C felony with up to a $5,000 fine and jail time”.
Unincorporated areas of Snohomish County are exempt for the fireworks ban placed on local cities. However, efforts are being made to extend fireworks bans in the unincorporated areas of Snohomish County as well.
According to the website for South County Fire (SCF) on June 13, 2019, the SCF Board of Commissioners filed a “No Firework Area Petition” with the Snohomish County Council seeking a ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks within the unincorporated service area of Snohomish County. The petition can be found at www.southsnofire.org/fireworks.
Safety is the main concern for the city and for SCF. SCF services Snohomish County and the surrounding municipalities and unincorporated areas. Public Information Officer for SCF Leslie Hynes says the biggest safety tip she can give to Lynnwood residents who want to see fireworks is to attend one of the public fireworks displays in the area.
“We really want to prevent fires in the area,” Hynes says. “Reducing the use of fireworks prevents injury and property damage.”
Hynes says the call volume for SCF doubles for fire and injury related incidents involving fireworks around the time of the Fourth of July.
“We see many brush fires, dumpster fires and small house fires during this time,” Hynes says. “We also see many hand and face injuries related to fireworks and people lose fingers.”
Though fireworks are considered illegal, the enforcement of such a law on the Fourth of July seems unrealistic and practically impossible considering the deep tradition of firework use and the cultural acceptance of using fireworks on the fourth by the community.
If you are looking for a larger fireworks display there are two in the Lynnwood area that people can attend. The first will be held on July 3, at Lake Ballinger Park at 10 p.m. located at 23000 Lakeview Drive in Mountlake Terrace. The second large fireworks display will be on July 4, at Civic Center Playfield located at 310 6th Ave North in Edmonds.
To report the illegal discharge of fireworks, call 425-775-3000. Violations will result in confiscation of fireworks and fines. Only call 911 if there is an immediate threat to life or property.