Letter: Fireworks ban would prevent runaway fires


Imagine a dry spell such as we often have in summer with our forests, fields, and yards tinder-dry. Imagine that the calendar reads “July 1, 2023.” Our sheriff has the authority to declare a burn ban, and he does. As part of that ban, he forbids the shooting off of fireworks.

Sadly, it is too late. Many residents of Whidbey Island, as well as part-time residents and visitors from communities outlawing fireworks, have purchased their explosives weeks ago and have flocked to our island. No July ruling will keep these folks from lighting off these explosives before, during, and after the 4th of July celebration. They may even try to be careful, but one fireworks spark can ignite a patch of dry weeds that spreads like — well, like wildfire.

Now imagine a forest and field fire on Whidbey such as those Washington State had experienced in recent years. Where will you go? To the overloaded ferries? To Highway 525, which is blocked in places as the fire jumps fire-lines? Across Deception Pass Bridge jammed with cars? Even if you have a boat, will you find an open ramp?

Following the lead of several incorporated towns on Whidbey, we can make fireworks illegal, except for licensed, professional exhibits. With the support of Sheriff Rick Felici, and Island County Commissioners Melanie Bacon, Jill Johnson, and Janet St. Clair, we can prevent run-away fires started by fireworks here on our precious and beautiful Whidbey Island.

Gloria Koll