Preparing for Fourth of July

Fire department plans to increase staff level for holiday weekend

This TNT Fireworks booth operated by Sequim Vineyard at 1110 W. Washington St. opened on Tuesday

This TNT Fireworks booth operated by Sequim Vineyard at 1110 W. Washington St. opened on Tuesday

Whether you love the sparkle in the skylight or dislike the loud cracks and pops, fireworks are coming to Sequim’s skyline and neighborhoods for the Fourth of July weekend.

Fireworks sales began on Tuesday, June 28, in the City of Sequim and Clallam County with booths operating through July 5.

In the city, residents could begin discharging fireworks on Tuesday and they legally can shoot them from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. June 29-July 3, 9 a.m.-midnight July 4, and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. July 5.

In Clallam County, fireworks can be discharged from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. June 29-July 3, 9 a.m.-midnight July 4, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. July 5.

Last year, Clallam County Fire District 3 reported to two fireworks-related fires during the Fourth of July weekend in the Sequim area. The larger of the two fireworks-related fires was a 50-foot-by-50-foot grass fire.

More calls came in for recreational burns and other fires including a bird in a power line, an abandoned boat catching fire and burning yard debris, fire officials reported.

Fire Chief Ben Andrews with Clallam County Fire District 3 said for the weekend he plans to bring staff in for overtime with 11 staff on at all times opposed to the typical eight.

Statewide, there were 240 fires caused by fireworks in 2015, said State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy, with 193 of those wildland and vegetation fires resulting in $12,555 in losses and damages.

Last year the Sequim Police Department received 25 calls about fireworks, nine in 2014 and 12 in 2013, said Sequim Police Chief Bill Dickinson.

Of those calls, he said a majority were about illegal fireworks but the call load doesn’t necessitate more officers on duty. Reserve officers may be on duty too though to provide extra help patrolling for illegal activity, he said.

Earlier in June, Sequim city councilors discussed fireworks and possibly banning or limiting sales/discharge in city limits but they couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. Any future changes/ordinances wouldn’t effect city policies until 2018 at the earliest.

In Sequim city limits, four groups are setting up booths/tents. They include Sequim Worship Center/Royal Rangers at 609 W. Washington St., Sequim Vineyard at 1110 W. Washington St., Sequim Vineyard Youth Group at 826 W. Washington St., and Sequim Valley Foursquare Church at 190 S. Priest Road.

Chris Hugo, Sequim’s director of community development, said state law allows only one fireworks stand per 1,500 people and with Sequim’s population now they may be able to add a fifth booth in a few years.

Applications for a fireworks booth open up at the beginning of each year, he said.

Hugo added that fireworks sold in local grocery stores are party poppers and don’t fall under the same classifications of fireworks at stands which are classified by the degree of risk and amount of powder in each firework.

In Blyn, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe operates its own booth at 270756 U.S. Highway 101, which sells both Washington-approved legal fireworks and federally legal consumer fireworks that aren’t legal to own or shoot off of a reservation.

These illegal fireworks include firecrackers, sky rockets, missiles and bottle rockets. Items such as M-80s, improvised explosive devices and altered fireworks are not allowed to be sold statewide.

Tribal officials say they do not provide a place for people to shoot fireworks in Blyn and they abide by and advise others to abide by county and city restrictions for discharge of fireworks.

The complete list of Washington permitted fireworks booth in the greater-Sequim area could not be obtained by press time.

Keeping animals safe

Because of the high-pitched whistles and loud booms of fireworks, pets can be frightened easily. Here are a few ways to help them stay safe and calm.

• Ask your veterinarian to recommend medications to keep your pets tranquil.

• Bring outdoor pets inside to prevent them from running away.

• Close all windows and enclose your pets in a small room.

• Provide water as a frightened pets will pant heavily.

• Turn on a television or radio to block some of the volume of fireworks.

• Accompany your pets on a leash when outside.

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