Fireworks cause 50 acre blaze, locals near speak out
YAKIMA, Wash.- Firework season here, a time where we celebrate America's Independence Day.
Here In Yakima, fire crews say during this time, it's a demanding one.
"I know that they were very very busy last year going to fireworks related calls," said Yakima Fire Marshal Chris Pederson.
The State Fire Marshal reports that last year they had nearly 400 reports of firework related incidents by hospitals, clinics and and fire agencies in the state. causing 262 injuries and 83 fires.
Now this year, fireworks have already caused nearly 50 acres of land to be engulfed in flames at Cowiche Canyon Road. Damaging a garage and a shop building. Witnesses saw people throwing out fireworks from a moving car. Fire crews later found a used firework in the location where the fire started.
"Obviously it burned quite a bit of land, but it put a dozen homes here at risk," said local Jeffery McPhee.
McPhee owns one of the homes that was just feet away from the blaze. He says if he hadn't gotten there as soon as he did to help put out the fire, his home probably wouldn't be sitting here today.
"I think it's incredibly careless of someone to intention through a firecracker into dry brush knowing that it's going to start a fire. My thoughts are that that's someone that is careless enough to not have the forethought to think of the damages that it can create," said McPhee.
Yakima fire crews are still searching for the people who caused the fire. Pederson urges you to know what areas you can light off fireworks, and be prepared when you do.
"It is illegal to light fireworks in the city and in the unincorporated Yakima County. If you are in an area where you can light off fireworks, we like to see a water source readily available and also remind people if you have a firework that does not go off, do not approach it," said Pederson.
Pederson also recommends the community leaving it to the professions and attend a public firework shows throughout the Yakima Valley.