Private fireworks should be banned

With the recent horrific fires and loss of life and property in northern California, I think it’s time that we should ban private fireworks that are sold or discharged on Vashon.

We all know we have a small fire department that is stretched thin on the Fourth of July. We live in a heavily forested island with help from other fire districts at least 90 minutes away, if not longer, especially on the Fourth of July. In 1958, 500 acres of Maury Island burned, and it took three days to put out. How many homes and lives would that be now? Building on the island has increased dramatically with the chances for a major fire increasing. If the dry winter continues as NOAA is forecasting and the summer is another dry one, I fear that a small fire could turn into a major devastating fire on the island. Let’s not think that it can’t happen here.

We do not need to play Russian roulette with the chance that one skyrocket or sparkler lands in the forest and sets Vashon on fire. How many of you have thought about this on the Fourth of July? Let’s not sell fireworks or allow any fireworks that are not put on by permitted, licensed and professionally trained people to be discharged on our island. Two big signs on the north- and south-end ferry landings saying “fireworks are banned and not allowed on Vashon” should be constructed for that weekend. Many communities around the sound have banned fireworks. It’s time our island does that same. Call your county representative and let them know. Let’s make this happen.

— Ron Smotherman

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