Island County sheriff: Learn the rules before lighting fireworks

James Michaelangelo of Coupeville shops for fireworks at the Oak Harbor Rotary Club stand Monday at the Rite Aid lot. - Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times
James Michaelangelo of Coupeville shops for fireworks at the Oak Harbor Rotary Club stand Monday at the Rite Aid lot.
— image credit: Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

When celebrating this Fourth of July remember that shooting off fireworks isn’t a free-for-all. Whether you live in the county or within town or city limits, each jurisdiction has its own set of rules.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown advises that prior to lighting fireworks, citizens determine if they are even allowed.

Both Island County and City of Oak Harbor follow fireworks guidelines set by Washington state law.

Only legal fireworks are allowed including sparklers, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, ground spinners roman candles and smoke devices.

Illegal fireworks include missile-type rockets, sky rockets, fire crackers, salutes and chasers.

City of Oak Harbor also regulates where citizens can light fireworks, requiring they only be discharged on private property.

Fireworks are not allowed on city property, including parking lots and are not allowed on public beaches.

Each jurisdiction also has regulations on when people can light fireworks

Per state law, Island County and City of Oak Harbor allow fireworks starting June 28.

Fireworks will be allowed Wednesday, July 2 and Thursday, July 3 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On Friday, July 4 they are allowed 9 a.m. to midnight.

Fireworks are only allowed to continue one day after Independence Day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 5.

Town of Coupeville has a much tighter window for fireworks regulations.

According to Coupeville Town Marshal Rick Norrie, fireworks within town limits are only allowed 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 4.

Brown also advises citizens to remember the simple rules of fireworks safety and regulations:

  • Don’t shoot fireworks at others
  • Don’t light fireworks on unstable or unlevel ground or objects
  • Don’t lean over fireworks when lighting
  • Don’t discharge firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets and missiles outside of tribal  land  boundaries
  • Don’t hold fireworks when discharging
  • Don’t alter or take apart fireworks

“Please be respectful of those that are bothered by loud noise and/or are concerned about their pets being overly frightened when hearing the blast of fireworks discharging,” Brown said in a prepared statement.

“It is my sincere hope that we can celebrate our national holiday and still be good neighbors within our Island community.”

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