Washougal tightens sales window for fireworks

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

 

FIREWORKS SCHEDULES

What are the fireworks schedules for each Clark County jurisdiction?

Camas

Sales: July 1 to July 5.

Use: July 1 to July 4.

Clark County

Sales: June 28 to July 4.

Use: June 28 to July 4.

Vancouver

Sales 2013: June 28 to July 4.

Use 2013: July 1 to July 4.

Sales 2014: July 2 to July 4.

Use 2014: July 4.

Washougal

Sale 2013: June 28 to July 5; Dec. 27 to Dec. 31.

Use 2013: July 4; Dec. 31.

Sale 2014: July 2 to July 4; Dec. 29 to Dec. 31.

Use 2014: July 4; Dec. 31.

Battle Ground

Sale: June 28 to July 5; Dec. 31.

Use: June 28 to July 4; Dec. 27 to Dec. 31.

Ridgefield

Use: June 28 to July 5; Dec. 27 to Dec. 31.

La Center

Sale: June 28 to July 5.

Use: June 29 to July 4.

Yacolt

Use: June 28 to July 4.

Washougal residents who like to make their own rockets' red glare during the Fourth of July may have to tweak their schedules next year.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to limit the sale of fireworks to six days a year, the latest restriction on personal pyrotechnics to be discussed in Clark County.

The amendment to the city's fireworks ordinance will go into effect next year and cover the sale of fireworks during both the summer and winter months. The amendment will allow fireworks to be sold between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. from July 2 to July 4 in the summer and between noon and 11 p.m. from Dec. 29 to Dec. 31 in the winter.

Currently, Washougal has a 13-day window for selling fireworks. That will stay in effect through the end of 2013. The days on which people may legally set off their fireworks, July 4 and Dec. 31, will

stay the same.

Shortening the period of time when people can buy fireworks is intended to prevent residents from setting them off early or storing them around the house, which can pose a fire hazard, city officials said.

Mayor Sean Guard said the city also had concerns that people were discharging fireworks on days when they weren't supposed to.

"Anytime you have things blowing up, you're going to have people who don't like that much," he said.

Brent Erickson, executive director of the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, said he's worried the nonprofit groups running the city's fireworks stands would take a financial hit from the changes.

"Anytime you take the amount of time the nonprofits have to sell fireworks and you squeeze it down, you drop down their dollar amount," he said.

For the city's ordinance to take effect by next year, Washougal had to pass it by July 1, Ron Schumacher, fire marshal and deputy chief of fire prevention for the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, told councilmembers at an April 22 workshop meeting.

State law calls for any changes to a city's fireworks law to be passed 365 days in advance of when they're implemented.

Washougal isn't alone in looking at ways to reduce when fireworks are sold or discharged.

In October, Vancouver voted to limit the use of fireworks to one day a year and the sale to three days starting in 2014. Last year, Camas shortened its fireworks season.

Although the stands are disappointed in what the city is proposing, Schumacher said, they'll comply with the regulations in 2014.

Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; http://twitter.com/col_smallcities;tyler.graf@columbian.com.