City of Pasco reviews alleged illegal fireworks usage this July - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Pasco reviews alleged illegal fireworks usage this July 4

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PASCO, WA - In May, the City Council approved a partial lifting of the fireworks ban to allow some of the so-called “safe and sane” consumer fireworks such as cone/cylindrical fountains, smoke devices, and sparklers, while continuing its ban on explosive and aerial fireworks, such as bottle rockets, roman candles, mortars and rockets.

The previous widespread and illegal use of all classes of fireworks served to take the focus of law enforcement away from higher risk devices. Aerial and explosive fireworks present a clear line for enforcement and represent the greatest potential risk to safety. 

Subsequent to Council approval a public information campaign was launched, including flyers (in English and Spanish) in City utility bills, social media, paid advertising, and several media interviews to help inform the public on what was now allowed and what remained illegal.

Yesterday on July 4, the Pasco Fire Department responded to 11 grass fires, 5 “miscellaneous” fires, and 4 structure fires between 6pm and 3am. At this time, all these fires are believed to have been caused by illegal fireworks.  All area Tri-City Fire Departments were busy responding to fireworks related calls.

City staff will be providing a detailed report to the City Council on fireworks related incidents associated with the Independence Day holiday.

“Preliminarily, it appears that the City Council’s decision to lift the ban on the use of fireworks that do not have aerial effects or explode allowed for many families to enjoy a modest display without incident,” said Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell, adding that “the apparent use of illegal fireworks caused a number of problems around the community and the greater Tri-Cities. Our experience in Pasco is that the use of illegal fireworks by some in the community inconvenienced and put the public at unnecessary risk and, in several cases, caused property damage”.    

Staff will be reviewing with Council the results of the change in the ban and exploring options on how to better crack down on the use of illegal and unsafe fireworks.