Update: Local towns forbid or clamp down on fireworks in extreme heat

But fireworks on the Fourth start after laser show on dam


Last updated 6/30/2021 at 5:39pm

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and with local towns all forbidding or severly restricting fireworks use this year, local residents will just have to enjoy the professional fireworks show that launches from the Grand Coulee Dam on Sunday, July 4, at about 10:30 p.m. following the laser show.

In the wake of historically high heat over the last week, some municipalities that simply align with state fireworks laws are banning them this week.

That includes Electric City, which held an emergency council meeting on June 29 to outright forbid “aerial” fireworks within the city over this holiday, the only local city that had not already outlawed them.

But handheld “sparkling devices and smoke devices that can be contained in a safe area are permitted for discharge only from 9 A.M. to midnight on July 4th,” a special order by the mayor states.

“These devices shall only be discharged on surfaces that are non-combustible and with sufficient distance from combustible material to avoid fires,” continues Mayor Diane Kohout’s executive order, which followed a council vote amending the city fireworks ordinance to allow that.

The revised ordinance does not outlaw fireworks in most years but allows for such a declaration in extreme conditions.

The city council’s action followed a ban declared by Grant County Fire District 14 the night before.

“Grant County Fire District 14 Commissioners currently have a burn ban in effect, which now includes a ban of all fireworks within the district,” Fire Commissioner Marjorie Sanders said Tuesday.

Grant County commissioners Tuesday night said they had declined to impose such a fireworks ban countywide, yet, but “If conditions worsen (fires, wind, depleted firefighters) a ban on the discharge of fireworks will likely happen. We strongly recommend holding fireworks until New Year’s. If fireworks are displayed, please be mindful of dry tinder and keep water handy. We don’t want a ‘privilege’ to lead to the loss of someone’s home or property.”

Update: The clerk of the board Wednesday afternoon notified The Star via email that commissioners would meet in a special meeting July 1 at 3:20 to consider banning the use and/or the sale of fireworks in unincorporated Grant County.

County Fire Marshal Nathan Poplawski recommended temporarily banning the sale and use of fireworks under the current extreme conditions, invoking Grant County Code 6.04.030 which allows such a move.

Poplawski said he didn't make the recommendation lightly, but all but two of the fire chiefs in the county were in favor of it.


- The city of Grand Coulee does not allow fireworks in city limits.

- Fireworks are not allowed at North Dam Park. The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce had applied for a permit, but were declined due to a firework ban on federal property in the extreme conditions, Chamber Executive Director Rachelle Haven explained.

- The city of Coulee Dam forbids fireworks year-round.

- Elmer City, being on the Colville Indian Reservation, follows tribal code, which restricts ignition of fireworks to Round Lake, near Inchelium, Omak Park, and now Buffalo Lake; however, the Colville Business Council may revise that code on July 1. 

In May, the Colville Business Council approved resolution 2021- 382 “to allow Nespelem District to add Buffalo Lake at the boat ramp as one of designated areas to ignite fireworks. This will allow the community members of Nespelem, Coulee Dam, Elmer City, and Keller residents a site to ignite for the 2021 Firework Season.”

On Tuesday, a tribal staff member told The Star that the CBC “plans to revisit fireworks discussions for final approval” on July 1.

The fireworks off the dam are a part of the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce’s Festival of America July 3-4, paid for by the Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union.

This issue of The Star contains a special supplement on the festival.


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