Clallam commissioners table fireworks action

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners have tabled action on a fireworks ordinance because of COVID-19.

The three commissioners Tuesday closed a public hearing on proposed regulations that would restrict consumer fireworks to specific days when fire danger allows.

No in-person attendance is allowed at commissioners meetings under state orders for COVID-19 precautions.

Commissioners said they wanted to give the public more opportunity to weigh in on the proposal, which has been in the works since 2018.

“I had hoped that we might be able to fit this in before Independence Day, but that’s obviously not going to be the case,” Board Chairman Mark Ozias said at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Rather than continuing this indefinitely, our intent is to close the hearing, to take no action, and then at some point in the future, when we are able to hold more normal public meetings, to just start from scratch with a brand new public hearing.”

If approved, the county ordinance would take effect one year after its adoption. The first Independence Day that would be affected by the proposal would be the Fourth of July in 2022.

Under the proposal, fireworks would be permitted east of the Elwha River on July 4 only.

Consumer fireworks would be allowed west of the Elwha River from June 28 to July 5 when conditions allow.

No fireworks would be allowed in unincorporated areas when the state Department of Natural Resources’ Industrial Fire Precaution Levels reach level 3, or moderate.

The cities of Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Sequim have each banned consumer fireworks.

Clallam County and the city of Forks rely on state law for fireworks regulations.

The Clallam County proposal is a compromise between those who strongly feel consumer fireworks are a part of the Fourth of July tradition and others who feel fireworks pose too much fire risk.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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