Concerned about fire risk, chief urges islanders not to light fireworks

In light of the dry conditions on the island, George Brown, acting chief at Vashon’s fire station, said on Monday that he is urging residents not to light fireworks this Fourth of July.

In light of the dry conditions on the island, George Brown, acting chief at Vashon’s fire station, said on Monday that he is urging residents not to light fireworks this Fourth of July.

Last Fourth of July, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) responded to three brushfires caused by fireworks. Brown, who is filling in as chief while Hank Lipe is on leave, noted that conditions are drier this year and the forecast is for more warm and dry weather through the holiday weekend.

“There’s a much higher risk of a small fire escalating into something very large,” he said.

Because of the dry weather, all 39 counties in Washington have now enacted burn bans. In King County, 22 of 36 cities have also banned fireworks. However, fireworks use is still permitted in unincorporated King County between 9 a.m. and midnight on the Fourth of July.

An online petition was started calling for an emergency fireworks ban in the unincorporated neighborhoods of North Highline and West Hill. However, according to the news station KIRO 7, the King County Fire Marshal’s office said there would be no ban because under state law any ban on fireworks wouldn’t take effect for a year.

Brown said VIFR will staff up on the Fourth, with extra career and volunteer firefighters on duty and on call from their homes. Brown will also do some annual fireworks education, but emphasized he hopes people will simply avoid fireworks, even if they believe they will use them responsibly.

“Accidents can happen,” he said.

The professional fireworks display over Quartermaster Harbor will begin after dark, likely after 10 p.m.

 

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