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Ongoing fireworks displays dangerous and illegal, Milton-Freewater officials say

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Post-holiday fireworks a problem in Milton-Freewater

Home fireworks shows, like this July 4 one in Walla Walla, must now stop, Milton-Freewater city officials said this week, citing the illegality and danger of such displays.

MILTON-FREEWATER — You’ve had your fun, but now it’s done. Put the fireworks away, or else you’ll pay.

So said Milton-Freewater city officials on Tuesday.

While the Fourth of July is over, its sound effects have been ongoing in neighborhoods, City Manager Linda Hall said.

Now, however, people caught still using fireworks will be subject to possible fines and loss of those sizzle and sound makers.

Hall said she and Police Chief Doug Boedigheimer were contacted by a resident who said her neighbors were continuing to light off fireworks every night since the holiday, and that the noise was detrimental to her dog’s health.

The woman took all the proper steps to try to end the displays, Hall said, but whenever police officers visited her neighbors about the complaint, there was no evidence of fireworks.

“So then she emailed me a video of what these people were shooting off,” Hall said.

“These aren’t little sparklers on the ground, but these are huge rockets that go above the trees.”

Hall said Boedigheimer went to the firework offenders himself to issue a citation.

In Oregon, any firework that actually explodes with a loud bang, shoots into the air or moves more than 6 feet across the ground is unlawful.

Owning such a firework, even if it’s not used, is a misdemeanor crime and can make the person in possession subject to arrest, city officials said in a news release.

That means almost all of the fireworks people shot off on July 4 were “criminal in nature,” the release said.

As well, Milton-Freewater is under a burn ban, and use of fireworks is automatically out, Hall said.

She pointed out that local Facebook pages show the scope of the post-holiday fireworks issue is wide, with many people concerned about the nightly barrage of booms on the health of their pets.

“It sounds like they are going off all over town,” Hall said, noting Boedigheimer has mentioned 2020 is the worst year for lingering fireworks shoots.

“We need this to stop. Or else you’re getting fined,” she said.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers health, social services and city government in Milton-Freewater, Athena and Weston in the Walla Walla Valley.