By JESSE BURKHARDT
It's fireworks time again as we celebrate our national Independence Day this Saturday, July 4.
To help make it a fire-safe holiday, for the fifth year in a row, the Port of Klickitat and the cities of Bingen and White Salmon will host a Fourth of July celebration at Bingen Point. The objective is to reduce the risk of fire by providing a designated area for residents to use their fireworks. There will also be areas for families with little ones to view fireworks safely away from those setting them off.
Bingen Point also allows a nice vantage point to watch aerial fireworks displays over the Columbia River, including the city of Hood River's show from the waterfront area, which begins at dusk.
Personnel and equipment from the Bingen Fire Department, the White Salmon Fire Department, the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department, the Klickitat County Sheriff's Office, and Skyline Hospital's Ambulance Department will be on hand at Bingen Point for the July 4 event, so in the event of a fire or other emergency, crews are on hand to deal with it.
The Independence Day celebration at Bingen Point is "officially" scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and continue until 11 p.m.
Residents are reminded that only legal fireworks, which are labeled "Class C," will be allowed. Anything else is illegal in Washington, and all illegal fireworks will be confiscated.
"Don't bring them in or they will be confiscated," said Bingen City Administrator Jan Brending.
Alcoholic beverages also are prohibited on Port of Klickitat property.
Brending also reminded local citizens that three years ago, the Bingen City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting setting off fireworks in the city of Bingen. The ordinance was put into place due to concerns about fires and possible property damage.
"No fireworks of any type are allowed in the city limits of Bingen, including sparklers," Brending explained.
Garbage containers will be located around the Bingen Point property for disposal of spent fireworks.
The city of Bingen and the Klickitat Young Leaders Association are inviting volunteers to join members of local Boy Scout Troop No. 384 in picking up the debris from expended fireworks and other trash. The cleanup is set for Monday, July 6, starting at 8 a.m. Depending on the number of volunteers, the task usually takes about two hours, and garbage bags will be provided.