Posted by Julie Hall on June 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm
This afternoon the Bainbridge Fire Department issued a ban on discharging consumer fireworks, in effect for the July 4th season. The ban is a response to historic hot, dry weather conditions and low fuel moistures, which have already led to a rash of brush fires in the last several days.
The Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Section 8.28.100 provides fire officials the ability to prohibit the use of fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger. “The importance of public safety cannot be over emphasized,” said Fire Chief Hank Teran. “The banning of consumer fireworks discharge on Bainbridge is a proactive step in reducing fire incidents in our community.”
Enforcement of the ban is up to the Bainbridge police. Police Chief Matt Hamner said he hopes the public will comply with the ban but that the department is ready to enforce it if necessary. “We don’t have to look far to see the danger in the example of Wenatchee. We don’t want anything like that to happen here,” he said. “We hope there are no violators. We would be derelect in our duty not to step up enforcement. Officers will be on hand and ensure the safety of every resident of the Island.”
When asked about citizen reporting of illegal discharging of fireworks, Chief Hamner said, “Anytime a crime or violation occurs we encourage people to call 911.”
At this time the ban does not include the public fireworks display in Eagle Harbor. Chief Teran said the BIFD will assess conditions early on July 4th and make a decision at that time about whether to approve the public event. Although the fireworks are discharged by professionals from a barge, the BIFD has the authority to cancel the event if weather conditions, primarily wind, are determined to pose a fire threat.
Eagle Harbor fireworks organizer Scott Isenman said his committee, which is funded through donations and not part of the City or Chamber of Commerce, is currently $8,000 short of its goal for this year’s show, which costs $30,000. Those interested in donating to the event can give through the Bainbridge Fireworks website or directly through Chase Bank.