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Fourth of July weekend skyrockets frustrations for Yakima's first responders

The long 4th of July weekend keeps local firefighters, police, and state troopers busy with DUIs and firework-related fires.

YAKIMA, Wash.- The holidays often are accompanied by a lot of celebration, but for the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and our local police and firefighters it can also be a weekend of frustration.

They make for a pretty display, but fireworks also raise huge concerns each year for our local firefighters, for what goes up must come down.

"You have a lot of frustrated firefighters out there on the 4th of July because every single firework that's going off is something that somebody's making a conscious decision to neglect safety and the law," said Tom Schneider, shift commander for Yakima Fire Department.

Schneider says that neglect is what resulted in a lot of calls for fires over the holiday weekend, luckily all contained quickly.

Still, Schneider says people should remember in most of Yakima County, fireworks are illegal and should be aware their decisions can have a huge impact.

"They're not just affecting what they have in front of them, they're affecting the whole community because we're not there to be available to someone else if we're there with these firework issues," said Schneider.

Those limited resources are what Washington State Patrol says kept them busy too.

"Unfortunately over the weekend we spent a lot of our time evacuating homes due to fires, due to you know reckless use of fireworks or fires that were started due to other reasons," said Sergeant Trent Clasen, with Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were also trying to keep the roadways safe, giving out 9 DUIs over the weekend, including 3 DUI related wrecks.

Still, an overall lighter holiday weekend for our first responders.

"There really wasn't much significant damage to property or injuries to people that we know of so I guess all in all we had a fairly safe fourth of July," said Schneider.

As a reminder, fireworks are still for sale till 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5th. Schneider says firefighters will continue to be on alert for possible fires especially with Wednesday's high temperatures.

However, remember fireworks are illegal in most of Yakima County to purchase, possess, or discharge so make sure you know your town's restriction and if you need help finding that information you can click here.

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