Burbank fireworks stand open Tuesday until midnight

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldDecember 30, 2013 

The New Year's fireworks season isn't as long or as lucrative as the one leading up to the Fourth of July, but some people think it's a bit safer.

Len Akes, who drove to Discount Fireworks in Burbank from Prescott, said he stopped shooting fireworks in the summer a few years ago because conditions are too dry and dangerous.

"I bought some shells and accidentally set the school lawn on fire," he said. "This is probably the better time of year to set them off."

As in summertime, fireworks are still illegal in Kennewick, Pasco, Prosser, Othello, Connell or unincorporated Franklin County.

They are allowed with restrictions in Richland, West Richland, Benton City and rural Benton and Walla Walla counties.

Even though it's winter, fire officials say the same precautions should be taken when using fireworks.

"The natural vegetation is not quite as receptive to ignition, but the hazard still really exists," said Deputy Chief Lonnie Click with Benton Fire District 1. "You still need to exercise extreme caution because they are an explosive device."

New Year's fireworks users don't tend to have displays as large as they do in July, said Duncan Norheim, who runs the Burbank fireworks stand.

"A lot of people come up on the Fourth and say, 'I've been saving, let's go big,' " Norheim said. "On New Year's, people say, 'Let's get something little.' "

The fireworks stand opened Friday and will be open at noon Wednesdayuntil the clock strikes midnight ringing in 2014, Norheim said. Business has been "steady, but slow," he said.

It's also been cold.

"When it's slow we just sit in the car," he said. "It's been a lot worse years before, we've had the wind in our faces."

Richland and Benton County will allow fireworks from 6 p.m. tonight through 1 a.m. on New Year's Day. Richland also bans the use of certain fireworks including rockets, Roman candles, mines or shells and ground spinners.

West Richland also allows fireworks between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., and restricts their use in places like public parks and schools.

Benton City allows people to shoot off fireworks any time between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Walla Walla County, which includes Burbank, allows fireworks to fired off between 9 a.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Wednesday.

w Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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