Fire Officials Urge Extreme Caution on Firework Use
Recent extreme temperatures and dry weather has caused our state to be more vulnerable to wildfires in advance of this Fourth of July weekend. Following days of record-breaking heat across Washington, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has asked Washingtonians to do whatever they can to help prevent wildfires.
“Due to our current temperatures and extreme dry conditions, the county is experiencing unprecedented high fire risk at this time. We are encouraging everyone to refrain from discharging consumer grade fireworks this season and attend commercial public displays instead. As a reminder, while it may be legal to discharge certain fireworks, you may still be liable for damage caused as a result. We need to have everyone do their part to avoid potential loss of life or risk property damage.”Bonnie LaCount, Skagit County Deputy Fire Marshall
In Skagit County, a burn ban is currently in effect due to the recent extreme temperatures and dry weather conditions; however, there are no fireworks restrictions in unincorporated Skagit County between June 28 and July 5th. Even still, and though temperatures have cooled, our grasses, brush, and shrubs continue to have very low moisture content. Such dry conditions pose a serious wildfire risk for Skagit County and the surrounding region.
Fireworks are a common cause of large-scale fires, including the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon. The fire was started by a teen igniting a firework and ultimately burned 50,000 acres. The teen was ultimately criminally sentenced and order to pay millions of dollars in restitution.
If residents do choose to use backyard fireworks, please keep wildfire safety and prevention at the forefront.
Below are some tips for using fireworks safely in dry weather:
- Do not use fireworks on or near dry vegetation or combustible materials.
- Be cautious when lighting fireworks when conditions are windy. The wind could blow a burning spark and set a nearby area on fire.
- When using fireworks, always have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose, or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire. Before discarding devices, be sure to douse them thoroughly with water.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry area to prevent an accidental ignition.
- Supervise children closely when using fireworks. Sparklers are a popular firework given to children, and they burn at an extremely high temperature and can cause major injuries. For more tips on fireworks safety and children, visit: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fireworks.html
- Never light more than one firework at a time, and never attempt to re-light one that did not ignite completely.
- If a firework device ignites a fire, contact the local fire department or 911 immediately. Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire.
Fireworks are not the only concern this weekend for local and state fire officials. Under dry conditions, summer activities such as grilling also have the potential to cause large fires. Under Skagit’s current burn ban, it is asked that residents refrain from setting outdoor fires until further notice. Recreational and cooking fires—limited to 3 feet in diameter and two feet high—remain allowed within enclosures and when safety precautions are followed. Officials ask that residents douse recreational fires with water, stir it, and douse the fire again until it’s cool to the touch before leaving.
Please note: Skagit County regulates fireworks within the unincorporated portions of the county, i.e., outside the boundaries of the cities and towns. In unincorporated Skagit County, only fireworks allowed by state law are allowed. Fireworks are illegal on state forestlands and in most parks.
In unincorporated Skagit County, it is illegal to discharge fireworks except during the following dates and times:
|Holiday||Date||Sales Legal Between||Discharge Legal Between|
|Fourth of July||June 28||12 p.m. –11 p.m.||12 p.m. –11 p.m.|
|June 29 – July 3||9 a.m.–11 p.m.||9 a.m.–11 p.m.|
|July 4||9 a.m.– 11 p.m.||9 a.m.–Midnight|
|July 5||9 a.m.–9 p.m.||9 a.m.–11 p.m.|
For a list of public fireworks displays here in Skagit County, go to the County Fire Marshall webpage.
For questions about fireworks and/or open burning in Skagit County, please contact the Skagit County Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-416-1840, or go to the website at www.skagitcounty.net/firemarshal.