EVERETT — The days of setting off Fourth of July fireworks with impunity have largely disappeared in cities across Snohomish County.
On this Independence Day, they’re banned in half of the county’s cities, home to more than 300,000 people.
Police in some cities write citations to those who ignore the law. In Marysville, for instance, violators face a $513 fine and possible jail time. Marysville banned fireworks starting in 2017, and it issued 46 citations that year. The number dropped to 27 last year.
So it’s worth knowing where and when setting off fireworks is allowed and where it is not.
Fireworks are banned in Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway. Legal fireworks can be set off Thursday from 9 a.m. to midnight in Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Stanwood, Sultan and unincorporated Snohomish County. They’re also allowed from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Snohomish and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Bothell.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office received reports of 209 injuries and 92 fires statewide caused by fireworks in 2018, with the vast majority occurring on July 4th.
Of the injury total, 26 were reported from hospitals in Snohomish County. That’s the same number reported in King County and ranked second to Pierce County, which had 47.
Statewide, the injured were most often boys and young men, according to an annual state fire marshal’s report.
The leading causes of fireworks-related injuries were being hit by debris at 43% and holding fireworks that exploded at 42%.
Esther Hernandez, chief deputy state fire marshal with the Washington State Patrol, said people can enjoy fireworks if they follow a few simple tips. She urges people to be prepared by using only legal fireworks with water nearby; being safe with only adults lighting fireworks and doing so one at a time; and by being responsible by soaking used fireworks with water.
Bans seem to have lessened the number of calls to fire departments in recent years.
Even so, many fire districts still gear up for Independence Day.
“Typically, on the Fourth, our call volume is around double,” said Leslie Hynes, a spokeswoman for South County Fire, which serves about 250,000 residents. That means having two extra engine trucks and a brush truck at the ready. Fireworks are banned in Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, the four cities within the fire agency’s boundaries.
Last year, two residential fires caused by fireworks occurred outside city limits on the Fourth of July holiday.
In Lake Stevens a year ago, a fire believed to be connected to fireworks damaged five homes on the northwest side of the lake. Total damage was estimated at $1 million.
Nights have become considerably quieter in Marysville since the ban was enacted there. As of Wednesday morning, there had been no fireworks incidents within city limits, according to the fire district.
For the first time in recent memory, the city of Marysville will host a fireworks show Thursday night. Gates open at 7 p.m. with lawn games, activities and live music until dark, followed the professional fireworks display choreographed to music starting about 9:45 p.m.
Even so, Marysville firefighters say they will remain vigilant and warn that conditions are still considered dry despite two drizzly days.
“We are not letting down our guard just yet,” said Christie Veley, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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