By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – It’s too soon breathe any sigh of relief that the Fourth of July holiday has come and gone with no major trauma from fireworks, according to one fire chief.
“Now, we’ll start to see over the next few days what will happen,” Lewis County Fire District 6 Chief Tim Kinder said. “There are people still lighting off fireworks.”
The period for legal discharge of fireworks ended at 11 p.m. yesterday, and won’t return again until next summer, except for a few hours on New Year’s Eve.
Also, the fire danger because of the exceedingly dry vegetation didn’t magically vanish. At least 10 large wildfires were burning around the state as of yesterday.
“Everybody needs to remember the burn restrictions,” Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said this morning.
The Salkum area had a relatively mild weekend, fire response-wise, although it certainly was noisy, McDaniel said.
For Kinder, whose department protects the greater Chehalis area, his crews had a very long weekend, with numerous calls.
“We did a lot of mutual-aid stuff,” Kinder said.
District 6 crews assisted Riverside Fire Authority with a Centralia area barn fire on Thursday, with a house fire on Friday, and responded with the Napavine area department for a garage fire on Sunday, according to Kinder.
They dealt with some small grass fires, with four calls in total on Saturday and four more on Sunday, he said.
And on Saturday night, they tended to one victim injured when a mortar exploded prematurely, inside its tube, according to Kinder.
Crews called about 10:30 p.m. to the 500 block of Highway 603 west of Chehalis found the 51-year-old man had been standing next to it, Kinder said.
It singed his eyebrows, and caused an abrasion on his upper chest, he said. The man’s wife took him to the hospital, the chief said.
But, the longtime firefighter said, his expectation is now folks will find leftover fireworks, and sometimes light them off to see if they still are any good.
“I always pay attention to the three or four days after the Fourth,” he said. “It’s not over.”