By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Fireworks are banned inside the city limit of Port Townsend.
They're legal outside the city limit.
Consumer fireworks are on sale at 877 licensed retail fireworks stands in the state, including four in unincorporated Jefferson County and 16 in Clallam County.
Firefighters and police in Clallam and Jefferson counties are reminding the public to keep it safe and legal this Fourth of July.
“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.”
Fire responders say the best way to play it safe is to leave the fireworks to the professionals.
Official Fourth of July firework displays are planned Thursday in Port Angeles, Forks and Neah Bay.
But for many, there's nothing like the nostalgic rush of lighting your own fireworks, which can be purchased at 20 licensed retail fireworks stands on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Fireworks are banned inside the city limit of Port Townsend, where there also will be no fireworks display show this year because of cost issues.
Highly explosive M-80s, firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets and missile-type rockets that can be purchased on tribal reservations are illegal to discharge on non-tribal lands.
If you're going to light your own fountains, sparklers, spinners and noisemakers, Phillips recommends the following safety tips:
■ Don't let young kids play with sparklers, and closely supervise children around fireworks.
■ Don't wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
■ Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass, and point them away from homes and other flammable surfaces.
■ Stand several feet away from lit fireworks, and douse the duds with water.
■ Keep a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby.
The Port Angeles Fire Department also suggests keeping pets indoors and reminds citizens to “be considerate of your neighbors.”
With the exception of Port Townsend, where personal fireworks are banned, here are the days and times when fireworks can be discharged under state law:
■ Today through Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
■ Thursday: 9 a.m. to midnight.
In Port Angeles, personal fireworks can only be discharged between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and become illegal after 11 p.m. Thursday, the city fire department said.
Leftover fireworks can be lighted between 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. New Year's Day in Port Angeles.
Parking lot stands are required to close at 9 p.m. Friday.
Last year, Fire District No. 2 responded to 22 emergency incidents between July 1-7, including 15 medical calls and two fires, Phillips said.
“Please use care in the purchase and discharge of fireworks,” East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Spokesman Bill Beezley said.
Port Angeles Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said officers get a “fair number of complaints” about fireworks on the Fourth of July, particularly when the weather is nice.
“People using the legal stuff should still be respectful to their neighbors,” Smith said.
The long-range outlook for Thursday calls for cloudy to partly cloudy skies with highs in the low to mid-70s in the North Olympic Peninsula lowlands.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.