Say goodbye to personal fireworks
June 22, 2012 · Updated 1:19 PM
Personal fireworks are a thing of the past.
In November 2010, San Juan County voters approved an ordinance that prohibits the sale, transfer, and discharge of fireworks without a permit. The ordinance became effective on November 23, 2011.
It is unlawful for any person to possess, sell, offer to sell, use, transfer, discharge or explode any fireworks within the unincorporated areas of San Juan County, except for duly authorized public or private displays. All public/private fireworks displays must be planned, organized and discharged by a state of Washington licensed pyro-technician.
“Fireworks can injure people and start unwanted fires,” said Orcas Fire Chief Kevin O'Brien. “Last year in the state of Washington, there were 264 fires and 212 people injured due to fireworks; 89 of the fires were homes resulting in a total loss of over five million dollars. Because of the ordinance approved by the voters of San Juan County and the associated dangers of fireworks, we ask people to enjoy the public displays and refrain from using personal fireworks.”
A permit must be obtained from the county and approved by the fire marshal or designee per SJCC 9.20.040 prior to any public/private display of fireworks. The permit may be immediately revoked at any time deemed necessary by the fire marshal or fire chief due to any noncompliance, weather conditions, and/or period of extreme fire danger.
A look at the dangers of fireworks
•There were 476 fireworks-related injuries and fires reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 2011 by fire departments and hospitals. Of the 476 reports received, there were 264 fires and 212 injuries. The majority of these incidents occur on July 4th. Most incidents were caused by males between 15 and 21 years of age. The incidents of greatest concern are:
•89 residential fires totaling $5,333,425 in loss, 15 were caused by illegal devices, nine were caused by legal fireworks and 65 were caused by an unknown type of firework device.
•105 fires and 91 injuries were caused by devices which are illegal to own or possess in Washington State.
•9 sparkler bomb incidents that included six fires/explosions and three causing facial and hand injuries. These devices are considered improvised explosive devices which are illegal to manufacture and possess. Injuries from one of these devices resulted in metal puncture wounds, burns and tearing to the hands and trauma to the face, chest and legs.