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Celebrate 4th of July safely

Happy Independence Day! With the 4th of July falling on Sunday this year, we expect a full three days of celebrations, barbecues and fireworks!

But let’s make sure to celebrate our country, family and friends safely!

State fireworks laws

When it comes to the legality of discharging fireworks, the State of Washington’s laws are in effect as a minimum restriction with local jurisdictions often having a stricter restriction or total ban – including many such bans in Grays Harbor County.

Statewide, fireworks can be discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 3, from 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4 and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5.

However, in Grays Harbor, the following cities have additional fireworks restrictions!

  • Aberdeen allows fireworks only from 9 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, July 4.

  • Hoquiam allows fireworks only from 9 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, July 4.

  • Elma has enacted an emergency ban on all fireworks.

  • Cosmopolis has enacted an emergency ban on all fireworks.

  • Ocean Shores allows fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. on July 2 and 3 and from noon to midnight on July 4. However, fireworks may only be discharged on the beach from the Damon Beach approach to Marine View Drive Beach access. Fireworks are not allowed within city limits.

  • Westport allows fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. through July 4. Discharge is allowed on the beach from West Bonge Ave. to Cranberry Beach Rd.

Although fireworks are allowed in Aberdeen and Hoquiam, Assistant Fire Chief Dave Golding said, “the Aberdeen and Hoquiam fire departments would ask that due to recent hot weather and dry conditions people would refrain from setting off their own fireworks and enjoy one of the local fireworks shows such as Aberdeen’s Splash event.”

Golding explained that because of differences in municipal codes, some cities aren’t able to quickly enact an emergency ban of fireworks, adding that record-breaking recent high temperatures have area firefighters particularly concerned.

In addition to the Aberdeen’s Splash Festival, where fireworks are set off over the river at Morrison Park beginning about 10 p.m. Westport also has scheduled a fireworks display.

Beginning at dusk, the Westport Booming Bay Fireworks display will be shot off over the marina.

Be prepared, safe when lighting fireworks

While refraining from lighting fireworks would be the top recommendation for safety, Golding provided some safety guidelines for those who elect to discharge fireworks.

For starters, it’s important to purchase only legal fireworks, available at licensed fireworks stands, he said. Fireworks that are legal to discharge are known as common fireworks and will be labeled with the identification number U.N. 0336 1.4G. Many fireworks purchased on tribal land do not meet these legal requirements.

Other safety guidelines include:

  • Ensure safety of pets.

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks.

  • Have a water hose or extinguisher nearby to put out stray sparks.

  • Call 911 immediately if an emergency arises. (Be prepared to give correct address or location.)

  • Know basic First Aid.

  • Have a designated adult light all fireworks.

  • Use eye protection.

  • Light one firework at a time, move away quickly and keep spectators at a safe distance.

  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in water.

  • Use fireworks outdoors only and away from anything that can burn.

  • Read directions carefully.

  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.

Even if you aren’t planning to light off fireworks yourself, you may want to stay extra aware if your neighbors are shooting off aerial type devices. If you know that is a likelihood, it’s not a bad idea to water down your roof as a precaution.

In addition, follow up the next morning with a perimeter check of your property to make sure that nothing errant landed in a risky place such as a shed or wood pile that could become a smoldering concern.

Other safety concerns

All the celebrating, barbecues and late nights around the Independence Day holiday can also have additional safety concerns. Late nights, alcohol, traffic and fire can be a lethal combination. Make sure to have a designated driver transporting people to fireworks shows or home from barbecues.

Celebrating at the beach

For those who plan to celebrate the 4th of July at the beach, Grays Harbor Fire District #8, which includes Moclips, Aloha, Seabrook and Pacific Beach, issued a reminder for beach fires and fireworks!

  • All fires and fireworks must be 100 feet from dune grass and vegetation.

  • Fires are to be no bigger than 3 feet high and 3 feet in diameter.

  • Do not leave fires unattended.

  • Take a shovel with you and put your fire completely out before leaving.

  • Stay aware of the wind and where the sparks and fireworks will fly!

Have a fun, safe 4th of July celebration!


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