Officials from multiple fire safety agencies are appealing to those planning on using fireworks to celebrate Independence Day to be aware which fireworks are legal and to limit their use only during permitted times.
In unincorporated areas of Whatcom County, consumer fireworks can be legally used or discharged only on the following schedule.
- July 3rd: 6pm until 11pm
- July 4th: 6pm until 12am midnight
- July 5th: 6pm until 11pm
Within the City of Ferndale, consumer fireworks can be legally used or discharged only on July 4th between 9am and 12am midnight.
Consumer fireworks purchased at stands outside the Lummi Reservation have been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office and the stand operators are licensed by the state.
Many fireworks purchased from reservation stands are illegal to possess or use off-reservation. They include:
- Fire Crackers
- Bottle Rockets
- Missile type rockets with fins
- Fireworks with sticks or fins
- Mortar shells larger than 1-¾” in diameter
Explosive devices such as M-80’s, M-100’s, tennis ball bombs and pipe bombs are considered explosive devices and are illegal everywhere. Possession or use of these items can result in criminal charges.
The Fire Marshal’s Office also warns that even though sky lanterns are NOT a firework they are regulated by the State and County fire code. Sky lanterns are only allowed to be lit as long as they are tethered (ie. by kite string, twine, etc.) and controlled at all times. Any fire started by a sky lantern can result in criminal charges.
Possession or use of illegal fireworks can result in both civil and criminal penalties. Any modification of a firework is considered making an improvised explosive device and is a felony. Any fire started from fireworks or explosives is termed “reckless burning” which can result in civil and criminal penalties.
In past years, drought conditions required implementing burn bans by both Washington State and Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Offices temporarily restricting the use and discharging of fireworks of any kind. While conditions can change quickly, there currently are not any local burn bans in place. The burn ban status can be monitored at the Whatcom County Fire Marshal website and also at the Whatcom County Fire District 7 website or by calling the Whatcom County Fire Marshal burn ban status hotline at 360-778-5903.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports 345 fireworks-related injuries and/or fires were reported by fire departments and hospital emergency rooms last year.