Fireworks are illegal in most of Spokane County.
That isn’t news, but local firefighters are reminding residents that fireworks pose a significant threat to life and property during one the worst heat waves in recent memory. Hot and dry conditions have fueled well over 300 brush fires in Washington this summer.
“Fireworks are not just harmless fun,” said Mike Miller, an assistant fire marshal at the Spokane Fire Department. “They impact a lot of agencies and a lot of different individuals.”
In Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Cheney and Fairfield, discharging fireworks is illegal without a permit. In Millwood, fireworks are banned in all circumstances. Buying or selling fireworks is illegal in all those cities.
Fireworks may not be discharged in unincorporated parts of Spokane County, or on private, state or federal forest land.
“Fireworks are prohibited from the woods. Period,” said Guy Giffords, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources. “It doesn’t matter what county you’re in.”
The restrictions apply to all fireworks that require a source of ignition like a match or lighter, such as bottle rockets, firecrackers and floating paper lanterns. Poppers that are thrown on the ground are OK.
“If it has to be lit, it’s part of the ban,” Miller said. “If you need to take a match to it, whatever it is, and light that thing, it’s illegal.”
Those who buy, sell or discharge fireworks illegally face up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Since fireworks became illegal in Spokane in 1993, the annual number of related fires around the Fourth of July has decreased from 104 to 5. In the same period, the number of fireworks-related injuries treated in local hospitals has decreased from 29 to 5, according to the Spokane Fire Department.
Fireworks may be purchased and discharged in Airway Heights, Deer Park and Medical Lake during certain periods around the Fourth of July. But firefighters warn that fireworks users may be held responsible – and have to pay for – damaging fires.
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