Remember: personal fireworks are illegal | Editorial

Remember: personal fireworks are illegal | Editorial

They glisten across the night sky and symbolize the rocket’s red glare that gave way to our country’s freedom from British rule: Independence Day.

But they are also dangerous when handled by amateurs. An average of 18,500 fires across the country are started by fireworks each year, resulting in $43 million in direct property damage, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association

We would like to remind everyone that, for the last decade, personal fireworks are not allowed anywhere in our beautiful county. The use of any type of personal fireworks presents a real danger of injury and fire. Additionally, the residue and pollution left behind from personal fireworks is toxic to the environment.

The so-called “safe and sane” fireworks sold on the mainland are intended to be used in the communities where they are purchased. These fireworks include ones that remain on the ground and do not launch into the air. Most of the fireworks sold on reservations are not legal anywhere else in the state.

Studies have shown that fireworks negatively affect birds, wildlife and domestic animals. Birds have been known to erupt into spontaneous flight because of fireworks, crashing into trees, buildings and each other resulting in death.

Many animals have hearing capabilities far more advanced than those of humans, therefore the loud crack of fireworks, exceeding 150 decibels, that hurt human ears can be deafening to an animal. In other documented cases, nesting birds and small-mammal parents have been known to abandon their nests, leaving behind their defenseless young.

Keep pets indoors as well, to avoid them running off in a fright.

There will be some amazing fireworks shows presented by professional pyrotechnicians throughout San Juan County. Fireworks shows are planned at Roche Harbor, Friday Harbor, Eastsound, Deer Harbor and Lopez Island. Residents and visitors alike always enjoy these shows. For a full calendar of Fourth of July fireworks shows and events, see this week’s edition.

The San Juan County fire marshal has given our area a fire danger rating of moderate, which means campfires are allowed but all other burning is closed for the season. Campfires must be monitored at all times, and a charged hose or buckets of water must be on hand to extinguish the fire.

When we have a stunning show to watch, who needs illegal fireworks?