As we hit fireworks season hard over the next several days (and as the weather continues to shine and make conditions ripe for wildfires), the state Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding people to be safe with their fireworks.
If not, fires and injuries can result. Here are some stats about fireworks-related incidents from 2008.
There were 785 fireworks-related incidents in the state. Those caused $200,000 in property damage.
There were 518 fires sparked by fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.
While fireworks can be legally set off in some areas, there are consequences for setting off fireworks where they are prohibited or tampering with the explosives.
“Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered,” the Fire Marshal’s Office reported in a press release. “A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. Possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80′s, M-100′s and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offense.”
If a wildland fire is started by a firework, the person responsible can be on the hook to pay the fire suppression costs, which can end up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Fire Marshal’s Office also wants to remind people that fireworks sold on tribal lands might not be legal in their communities.
“Examples of fireworks legal to purchase and use on tribal lands, but not legal in Washington State, are bottle rockets, firecrackers and missiles,” the office reported.