In Our View: Celebrate Legally

Fireworks regulations vary greatly, so check this list carefully

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Interjurisdictional cooperation remains mostly a pipe dream in Clark County, and from one perspective, that’s understandable. Residents of seven cities (plus parts of Woodland) relish their individuality, and community pride makes many people reluctant to conform to some bunch of strangers a few miles down the road.

Still, we can dream. And in a perfect world, fireworks rules would be the same throughout the county. That would be great because, we suspect, the confusing mishmash of regulations that currently apply often leads some people to clumsily wander out of compliance.

Legal times for fireworks use:

Vancouver: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Camas: Noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

Washougal: 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Battle Ground: Noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5.

Ridgefield: Noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 5.

La Center: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4.

Yacolt: Noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Unincorporated Clark County: Noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Reality trumps dreams, however, and that is why we post — for neither the first nor last time in The Columbian — the accompanying list of local ordinances for discharging fireworks. Please check it carefully and obey the rules in whatever square on this regulatory checkerboard you will detonate your pyrotechnics. Look at it this way: Here’s your one chance to have every neighbor — plus every dog and cat — think highly of your considerate conduct. That opportunity is rare in some neighborhoods.

One consistent standard in Clark County’s seasonal salvo is the start of legal sales: noon on Tuesday. And the nightly curfew of 11 p.m. is fairly typical, although it’s 10 p.m. in La Center. The curfew extends one hour in most places on July 4. Curfew violations are probably the source of more complaints each year than any other offense. Celebrating your patriotism is one thing; disturbing the peace in the middle of the night is something else. Please observe fireworks curfews.

The schedule of legal-use days varies greatly. Washougal enforces the tightest window of all, just one day, July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight, although we wonder how many oohs and ahs you’ll elicit at 9 a.m.

For some reason beyond our comprehension, fireworks may be discharged on July 5 in Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground and Ridgefield. We’ve always said that’s like opening Christmas presents on Dec. 26, but as noted in this editorial’s lead paragraph, most folks aren’t overly willing to change long-standing local rules.

City councilors in the county’s largest city — Vancouver — made a wise change last year, reducing the fireworks schedule to just four days: July 1 through July 4. So remember, even though fireworks can be bought as early as Tuesday, in Vancouver they cannot be legally discharged until Friday.

A few tips: Firecrackers and bottle rockets are among the illegal fireworks. Even sparklers, though legal, are dangerous. Buy fireworks only from a licensed stand. Light only one firework at a time. Don’t try to relight a dud. Keep animals indoors.

Enjoy your Fourth!