Let's celebrate the Fourth of July -- but let's do it safely

And remember, high-flying, loud fireworks are not legal in the city of Walla Walla.

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High-flying fireworks that explode with a loud boom are extremely popular on the Fourth of July. Yet, they cannot be discharged legally in the Walla Walla city limits.

Unfortunately, too many don't follow the rules creating dangerous situations, In addition, they annoy their neighbors.

Regulations on the sale and use of fireworks are far stricter within the city limits of Walla Walla than they are in the city of College Place and in unincorporated areas of Walla Walla County.

Now, we know illegal fireworks are going to be set off in the city -- a whole lotta them -- and the police don't have the time to chase every firecracker. Given that, folks need to use common sense. Don't go crazy.

And, even if it is not strictly enforced, the city of Walla Walla fireworks ordinance does not permit fireworks that travel more than 20 feet off the ground or 15 feet along the ground. Also, fireworks specifically designed to produce noise -- whistles, booms, pops, crackles and bangs -- are not allowed.

It's no accident that the majority of fireworks stands are outside the Walla Walla city limits so the high-flying, bing-bang products can be sold.

Sure, it's the stuff the customers -- particularly kids -- really like, but they cannot legally be used within the city.

If you buy products in College Place or outside the Walla Walla city limits they might not be legal in the city.

And please be considerate of your neighbors. Even if you are using legal fireworks such as fountains, don't light fireworks all night until dawn. And clean up your mess.

The city Fire Department offers these tips to keep you and your family safe this Fourth of July:

Children should always have an adult present.

Fireworks should never be tampered with or altered.

Fireworks should only be discharged in open areas away from structures, vehicles and combustible materials such as dry grass and weeds.

Always have a water hose, water bucket or fire extinguisher available.

Spent or "dud" devices should be soaked in water overnight then discarded.

The Fourth of July -- Independence Day -- is a wonderful holiday with deep meaning for Americans.

Let's celebrate it wisely and safely.



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