Today, a West Richland couple start their 12th year selling fireworks.
Kris and Stan Johnson began selling fireworks as a fundraiser for their children's hockey team. After the successful event, the couple never stopped, recently using the money to help put their children through college.
On Wednesday, the couple began stocking their wooden structure next to an Exxon gas station on West Van Giesen Street with colorful boxes of fireworks. The stand is owned by Factory Outlet Fireworks.
Others have been preparing for the start of the fireworks season too.
The state issued 900 retail fireworks stand licenses this year, according to a statement released Tuesday from state Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy.
Fireworks sales and discharging in the state begin at noon today, though some Tri-City communities have restrictions or bans.
Kennewick, Prosser, Pasco, Connell and Franklin County prohibit the use of fireworks by residents.
West Richland prohibits the use of fireworks in public parks and on school properties.
Fireworks sold in Richland, Benton City, Grandview and Walla Walla are regulated to certain kinds, and those purchased outside city limits might not be legal.
Across the state, bottle rockets, larger missiles, M-80s, firecrackers and improvised or altered fireworks are illegal.
In West Richland, Kris Johnson told the Herald on Wednesday that annual fireworks favorites include mortar shells, aerial spinners and a cylinder called "The Unicorn," which sprays a rainbow of sparks 10 feet into the air.
The West Richland stand carries a variety of fireworks, from a $250 assorted kit to little poppers that are three for $1.
"The kids are cute when they come in," Johnson said.
State law prohibits the sale of ignitable fireworks to children younger than 16, but that doesn't stop them from wandering through the stand like it's a candy store.
Once the children finish dreaming about fireworks, they can purchase poppers and other nonignitable novelties, Johnson said.
Fireworks sales will continue through most of the state until 9 p.m. July 5, and discharging ends at 11 p.m. the same day.
On July 4, fireworks can light the sky until midnight.
Duffy said residents should remember to be safe, prepared and responsible when using fireworks. People should keep a bucket of water and hose ready, use legal and unaltered fireworks properly and clean up after themselves.
Statewide, fireworks caused 264 reported fires in 2011, and next week is expected to be dry.
The Johnsons aren't afraid of running out of fireworks -- they restock their stand every day -- but they plan on closing shop at the end of July 4.
"We're pretty much fireworked out by the Fourth," Stan Johnson said.
w Eric Francavilla: 582-1535; firstname.lastname@example.org