I have happily called Enumclaw my home for 52 years. I am proposing the permanent ban of all fireworks in our city because they could cause devastating injuries and fires.
On Sept. 2, 2017, a 15-year-old boy threw illegal fireworks in Eagle Creek Canyon, Oregon, igniting a fire that burned 50,000 acres — 18 times the size of Enumclaw — and to date has cost $40 million. The fire burned for three months. 153 hikers were trapped, mandatory evacuations were ordered, and salmon hatcheries were forced to release 600,000 fish ahead of schedule. Portland’s air quality was officially reduced to “unhealthy” and the fire rages across the Columbia River and into Washington state.
A study was done by the University of Washington in which fireworks were called “dangerous explosives.” In a 10 year period, 294 patients were admitted to Harborview Medical Center alone because of fireworks-related injuries. 35 percent of those patients seen at Harborview were aged 15 or younger, and roughly half were bystanders. Two patients died. One woman, watching fireworks from her wheelchair, was killed when her oxygen tank exploded. The other was hit by a shell and mortar firework. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start 18,000 fire per year in the United States.
Enumclaw firefighters and police officers were busy responding to 42 firework-related complaints in 201, close to four times the amount in 2016.
Fireworks have been banned in Seattle since 1993 — 25 years. 17 other cities in King County have banned them as well.
Space here does not permit me to address the danger to domestic animals and wildlife.
In summary, there can be no argument that fireworks or explosives aren’t dangerous. This region has seen firsthand the dreadful toll that fireworks have taken by igniting massive fires, injuring citizens and disturbing the peace for hardworking families and citizens. I believe the time has come to ban all fireworks in the City of Enumclaw.