By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Fireworks temporarily banned in Medical Lake

Extremely dry conditions, escalating fire potential cited for temporary move


Last updated 6/29/2021 at 10:49pm

MEDICAL LAKE — Spokane County District No. 3 Fire Chief Cody Rohrbach has declared a temporary ban on fireworks in the city due to extremely dry conditions and increasing fire potential brought on by excessive heat and a prolonged period without significant precipitation.

The move is made under Section 5.10.060 of the city's municipal code, which allows the Fire Chief to prohibit the discharge of fireworks due to extreme fire danger, defined under the code as "a period of hot, dry weather accompanied by low fuel moistures." That portion of the “Fireworks” chapter was adopted in 2015 -- and didn't go into effect for one year after passage as per RCW Chapter 70.77.250(4) -- and the entire chapter was established in 1986, referencing “as if fully set forth herein, RCW Chapter 70.77, State Fireworks Law, as currently adopted or hereafter amended.”

Spokane County Fire District 3 provides fire service to Medical Lake.

Rohrbach noted fuel conditions are "6-8 weeks ahead of normal," and more closely resemble conditions found in late August rather than barely a week after the end of spring and beginning of summer.

"These conditions are forecast to persist throughout the holiday weekend, making our communities extremely vulnerable to large, devastating fires," Rohrbach said. "The Fire District is asking for the public's help in reducing the risk that the current conditions pose to our communities."

Other fire agency officials echo Rohrbach's assessment.

The region experienced the driest March-April timeframe since 1926 — and fourth driest since 1895 — and despite a bit of precipitation since then, not enough has fallen to stave off extreme drought conditions, now compounded by very excessive heat.

"All conditions are ripe for a potential catastrophe," Spokane County Fire District No. 10 Division Chief Debbie Dobson said.

Author Bio

John McCallum, Retired editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who retired from Cheney Free Press after more than 20 years. He received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories.


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