County approves fireworks changes to increase enforcement, promote consistency
Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council approved changes to county fireworks law Tuesday, including raising money for enforcement and other activities by adding a $156 permit fee on retailers who sell fireworks in tents.
The council also promoted fireworks consistency by removing Northwest/Northeast 219th Street as the dividing line for when fireworks can be used in unincorporated Clark County. Since 2016, fireworks use south of that line has been limited to Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. North of the line, fireworks can be used for six days before Independence Day and on the Fourth of July itself, as well as on New Year’s Eve.
By eliminating this dividing line, fireworks can be used during the same period in all of unincorporated Clark County: 9 am to midnight July 4 and 6 pm Dec. 31 to 1 am Jan. 1.
This change, however, won’t take effect until 2019 since state law mandates a one-year delay in implementing restrictions in local fireworks law.
The council opted not to change when fireworks can be sold. Sales in unincorporated Clark County can begin at noon June 28 and continue until 11 pm July 4. Fireworks cannot be sold before or on New Year’s Eve, although they can be used during a seven-hour period before and immediately after the start of the new year.
The council also approved a code change allowing the Clark County Council Chair, after consulting with the Clark County Fire Marshal, to prohibit the sale and discharge of fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger. Several thresholds for fire danger, as determined by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, must be met before the chair can consider a fireworks ban.
The council also decided not to restrict sales to “safe and sane” fireworks, which would have prohibited fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than 1 foot into the air or more than 6 feet on the ground.
The changes approved Tuesday affect only unincorporated Clark County. Cities can and have enacted tighter restrictions on fireworks than those in state law. Vancouver and several other large Washington cities have banned consumer fireworks altogether.
Tuesday’s decision came after nine months of discussions that included two county council work sessions, two meetings of a fireworks stakeholders group and several hours of testimony before the county council.
Assistant Fire Marshal
360.397.2186 ext. 3320