With the high fire danger, dry weather, and poor air quality Western Washington has had over the last few days, you might not expect this: a fireworks show, lighting up the sky on Friday night in Mukilteo.
The popular fireworks display is part of the annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival. This year, the decision to proceed with the fireworks show wasn't taken lightly.
"With smoke in the sky, ash falling, plus the burn ban concerns, there's just a lot of dry burning material out there," said Mukilteo Fire Chief Chris Alexander. "We had to approach it pretty carefully to try to figure out what the weather was going to do, if there was going to be a need to put the fireworks off."
He said the fire department and festival organizers worked closely with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, the Snohomish County Fire Marshal's Office, the Coast Guard, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency before making a final decision.
One factor that helped ease Alexander's mind: festival organizers planned for the fireworks to be set off from a barge out on the water between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island.
Cooler temperatures and improved air quality that moved in on Friday also played a big part.
"It looked like the weather was going to clear, the air quality concerns have been lifted because of the clearing air, and because it's out in the water where they shoot the fireworks off, we didn't have the concerns about sparking fires with the fireworks. So we looked at all those factors," said Alexander.
The fireworks show began at about 8:30 p.m. Friday and ended just before 9 p.m. There were no problems reported. Festival organizers have planned a second fireworks show for Saturday night.
"They're taking the precautions I think are necessary, to make sure it's safe for everyone," said Jessi Lundgren, who attended the festival with her husband and son.
According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the air quality forecast in Snohomish County is expected to continue to improve over the weekend. The agency's website said to expect moderate air quality early on Friday with some lingering smoke, but said the air quality should improve to good by Saturday.
A burn ban remains in effect in both Snohomish County and the City of Mukilteo. That means bonfires on the Mukilteo beach are banned for the time being.