Kitsap County passes fireworks restrictions for upcoming months

Kitsap County passes fireworks restrictions for upcoming months

Forecast predictions show a hotter and drier summer than usual, according to county fire marshal

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to restrict the sale and use of certain fireworks following predictions of hotter and drier conditions than normal this Summer.

The ban will occur June 28 through Nov. 1 in unincorporated parts of the county. The types of fireworks that will be banned during this period will include ground spinners, helicopter and aerial devices, roman candles, multi-shot or chain fired devices and multi-tube (cake) devices, according to Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam.

Another important note of the fireworks restriction is that all firework displays must be shot off at a location where the fallout is over a body of water. Fireworks still allowed include single-shot mortars, reloadable mortars, cones, fountains and sparklers. All of these types of devices were described as “safe and sane” by Lynam.

“We are not advocating a complete ban of fireworks at this time,” he said. “The things we’ve identified today are typically the things that cause us trouble.”

The fireworks that were banned have a common theme regarding their unpredictable paths that are hard to control, Lynam noted. Vendors who are caught selling them could have their licenses revoked and those who set them off could also face criminal penalties.

Lynam presented forecasters predictions that the Pacific Northwest, including Kitsap County, is facing a summer with hotter and drier conditions than normal. Maps from Oregon State University were displayed to commissioners which reiterated the conditions that were predicted to be more severe than usual.

The fire marshal said he plans to speak with the local tribes over the sale of restricted fireworks on tribal land, but stated “I don’t know how successful that will be.”

Public comment was held towards the latter half of the meeting and people appeared to be split on the proposed restrictions.

Kurt Carol, who has worked with TNT fireworks for 28 years, argued against the ban, stating that his customers have common sense. He cited the dry summer of 2015, where he claimed his sales dropped by 32 percent without any restrictions in place.

“I really think with the education we all have together we can make a better decision than having just industry or fire authorities or police or whoever,” Carol stated. “When we come together with industry, and counties, and city, and state, we always seem to come up with better answers because everyone brings something to the table.”

Jason Trout, also from TNT fireworks, presented a recent blog by Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, who claims there is no reason to expect drier conditions or excessive wildfires.

Molly Lee, a North Kitsap resident, said she supports a full fireworks ban.

“I was told by a county-paid authority to water my pasture to minimize the risk of fire,” she said. “This is an outrageous expectation for an outrageous activity.”

Economic impacts were also presented as Rev. Terry Painter, from Abundant Hope Fellowship in Bremerton, stated his church’s fireworks stand brings in about $20,000 each summer to help fund low-income children to attend camp and for teens to attend conferences.

“When it comes to predicting weather, we all know how that is sometimes,” Painter said, downplaying the predicted weather conditions. “It’s a tradition in our area where we teach our children about our country. We’re training our kids to love America.”

Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com

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