Fireworks sales in King County begin Tuesday, one week ahead of the 4th of July, but as people get ready to buy, fire leaders are urging caution as this year’s festivities approach. As the holiday gets closer, so does fire season and they hope people are careful while they celebrate.
“99% of our fires are human caused fires, less than 1% are lightning fires so as people are looking at what they’re doing with the campfires, the fireworks, even mowing the lawn in a hot dry afternoon, those things can start a fire,” Fire Unit Manager Charley Burns said.
Leaders with the DNR said it is critical to look at local rules when it comes to where you get light off fireworks. This year there were nearly 900 fireworks stand licenses issued, but in places like Seattle, Tukwila, and Renton, you can’t even light them off.
In addition to using caution by watching the areas where you light them, fire officials also say it’s important to be careful with another product.
“Alcohol sometimes plays a factor in it, and sometimes the inhibitions, once alcohol gets on board, they are lessened, they aren’t using the keenest of senses,” Kurt Stich said. “If you’re going to be the guy lighting fireworks please don’t be using alcohol because that becomes a tremendous factor for us.”
Another thing that worries fire crews in Western Washington is that many resources are often times shifted to wildfires in Central Washington when things grow over there, so sometimes it’s especially crucial that people are responsible on the west side.
“Once our resources get taxed and we start shifting people from Western Washington to Eastern Washington, that leaves less people here on the west side of the mountains so it really increases exponentially, when you start seeing fires at that time of the year, it really gets busy for us,” Stich said. “We would prefer that you are using fireworks in a safe area, where it’s not going to impact anybody else or staying within the standard individual or a company putting on a show, that’s probably the safest bet for us.”
They want to make it clear that they want everyone to have fun, but they want you to be safe. Fireworks sales begin Tuesday at noon and run through the 4th of July.
If people hear illegal fireworks being set off, officers encourage citizens not to call 911, but instead call their city's non-emergency line.