The Fourth of July will be a bit different for residents of Vancouver, Washington, this year, at least when it comes to fireworks.
The Vancouver City Council voted unanimously two years ago to limit the sale of fireworks to just three days, July 2-4. That was after months of debate and citizen input. This year, setting off fireworks is only allowed on July 4 itself.
Vancouver Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli told OPB’s Think Out Loud that her department mounted a big campaign to get the word out.
“What we find is that if people know and understand the ordinance change, the majority of people follow the law,” Scarpelli said. “The people who are not following the law, we want to make sure that it is enforced and that people understand the city is serious about having them follow this new fireworks law.”
Scarpelli said law enforcement will be keeping a close eye on things. Breaking the new law could result in a citation and a fine of up to $500. She noted that illegal fireworks can be dangerous, and that those are usually the ones that result in injuries.
Authorities say legal home fireworks should be set off on a flat surface that’s far from anything flammable, like dry grass.