Fourth of July fireworks — when you can blow things up on the Peninsula to celebrate nation's independence
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Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County maintenance workers Gary Menkal and Todd Bryant post bunting on the front of the county courthouse in Port Angeles on Monday morning in preparation for Independence Day on Friday. The Port Angeles Fourth of July parade will pass in front of the building at 6 p.m. before heading west on First Street through downtown.
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Michelle Weber stocks shelves with fireworks Friday at a stand operated by the Port Angeles High School Football Booster Club in the parking lot of Swain's General Store in Port Angeles.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

Keep it safe, be sane and have a good time this Fourth of July, local fire officials say.

Consumer fireworks are being sold at licensed booths on the North Olympic Peninsula except in Port Townsend, which banned fireworks in 2002, in advance of Independence Day on Friday.

Port Angeles municipal code limits the discharge of fireworks within the city limit to the Fourth of July between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Outside of Port Angeles (during the hours above) and Port Townsend (no private fireworks), elsewhere on the Peninsula fireworks can be lit all week.

Here are the times when it's legal to blow stuff up:

■ Today through Thursday — 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

■ Friday the 4th — 9 a.m. to midnight.

■ Saturday — 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Public fireworks shows are planned on the Fourth of July in Port Angeles and Neah Bay and July 5 in Forks.

Port Townsend will lack public fireworks for the second consecutive year, although organizers hope to have a show in 2015.

“Independence Day is a major highlight of the summer, and for many people in Clallam County, there's a lot of excitement around setting off colorful fireworks and starting up the grill,” Clallam County Fire District No. 2 Chief Sam Phillips said.

“We are reminding everyone of simple steps they can take to protect their children, who are most vulnerable to fire-related burns, injuries and deaths.”

Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc said the most important safety tip is to make sure children don't light fireworks.

'Three Bs'

It's a good idea to keep pets indoors, Dubuc added, and always be considerate of neighbors.

The state Fire Marshal's Office offers “three Bs”of fireworks safety: be prepared by having water nearby, be safe by keeping fireworks out of kids' hands and be responsible by cleaning up debris.

“Never attempt to make your own fireworks,” state Fire Marshal Chuck Daffy added.

Last year, there were 341 fireworks-related injuries and fires reported statewide on or around the Fourth of July, resulting in $2 million in property damage.

Fifty-one injuries, including one amputation, were caused by illegal fireworks, state officials said.

Sequim City Attorney Craig Ritchie said he knows someone who lost a finger as a result of fireworks.

Even a seemingly benign sparkler burns at more than 1,000 degrees, Dubuc said.

“We generally tend to be pretty busy on the fourth,” he said.

East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley said the bottom line is “just be smart and use good common sense.”

No fireworks-related injuries or fires were reported last year in East Jefferson County on the first week of July.

“We were very fortunate last year,” Beezley said.

“That's a testament to people being smart in our community.”

State standards

Consumer fireworks include cone fountains, sparklers, spinners, roman candles and noisemakers.

State law prohibits sky rockets, bottle rockets, firecrackers and larger explosives like M-80s.

“We really encourage folks to comply with the state standards,” Forks City Attorney Rod Fleck said.

For an illustrated list of what's legal and what's not, visit http://tinyurl.com/PDN-fireworks.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 30. 2014 7:04PM
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