In the lead up to Halloween, the City of Maple Ridge has issued a warning to residents that the sale or explosion of fireworks or firecrackers without a permit is illegal.
From now until Halloween night, the Ridge Meadows RCMP, fire department, and bylaws departments will be out in the community, enforcing the ban.
Fines range from $500 to $1,000 for violations of Maple Ridge’s Fireworks Bylaw.
“In 2013, the Maple Ridge Fire Department attended a house fire that started when a group of teens exploded fireworks in the backyard of the home. The fire subsequently spread to another home and both were destroyed,” said fire chief Michael Van Dop.
“Uncontrolled fireworks have the potential to cause significant property damage and personal injury,” he noted. “The goal is to be a good neighbour and avoid unnecessary risk to personal safety and protect our homes and environment.”
In Pitt Meadows the sale, purchase, or use of fireworks is also banned.
Fire chief Mike Larsson explained that in the past hey have had problems with fireworks being used maliciously to set off dumpster fires or to cause harm to others.
Deputy fire chief Dave Biggin noted that the fines there range from $200 for possession and $500 if someone is caught selling or using them.
However, Biggin added, they try to use education more than fines, depending on the situation.
The random explosion of fireworks also has an impact on pets and wildlife.
The BC SPCA is warning pet owners about the effect the loud noise from fireworks can have on their animals. Fireworks, the animal welfare agency says, can encourage aggressive behaviour in dogs and be the source of immense trauma.
“Approximately 49 per cent of dogs are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms, and gunshots,” reports the agency.
Aleigh Ateyo, a night emergency officer at the BC SPCA in Vancouver, believes people don’t fully realize the trauma surrounding fireworks for animals.
“On nights when there are fireworks, the call load is always worse. The animals are frantic and once an animal is frightened and running they are almost impossible to catch,” she explained.
On Halloween night, Ateyo estimates she can receive upwards of 30-50 calls, most of which are related to the effects of fireworks.
The animal agency is advising people to bring their pets inside when fireworks are happening and to ensure they always have identification, like a dog collar or microchip.
Van Dop is reminding residents that this Friday, Oct. 22, there will be a fireworks display put on by the city, the fire department, and a professional fireworks company. Celebrate the Night will be taking place in Memorial Peace Park, downtown Maple Ridge starting at 6 p.m. and will include music, light displays, activities for children, and a costume contest.
This safe, family-friendly event provides residents in the downtown core advance notice to prepare their pets for the 15-minute display and encourages the community to enjoy a safe, professional quality event, said Van Dop.
The fireworks show will start at 8 p.m. and will be fired off from the top of the ACT Arts Centre.
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