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Fourth of July brings more heat, and there’s no end in sight

Ever heard the saying, “summer doesn’t start in South Sound until the fifth of July”?

Not this year. Summer, or, at least unusually dry and hot weather, has been with us for weeks, with no end in sight. So the Fourth of July is going to be a hot one.

Conditions have prompted burn bans and restrictions, including banning campfires in state parks, but that wasn’t stopping people from getting relief from the heat Friday at Millersylvania State Park. Allen Chapman and his family came from Tacoma to swim, fish and picnic, bringing foods that didn’t require cooking.

“We’re staying until the sun goes down,” Chapman said. They had gone fishing, without any luck, and planned to rent a boat in the afternoon.

The boat rental is thriving in its second full year at the park, co-owner Arlene Gunter said. Lakeside Grill and Boats runs the concession and the boat rentals at the park. Gunter said because Deep Lake is a no-wake lake, it’s a good place for people to learn paddle boarding and other watercraft skills.

“It’s a very safe lake,” she said. There is no lifeguard, but the park has life jackets available. Lakeside also provides personal flotation devices with every rental.

The Tumwater Independence Day Parade, a holiday tradition, will continue Saturday (July 4) as planned. Lawn chairs were already lined up on Capitol Boulevard on Friday for the parade that begins at 11 a.m. and runs south on Capitol from Lee Street to Israel Road.

But the tradition of home fireworks displays has apparently stalled out this year. Fireworks stands are getting little traffic, including at the Tumwater Lions stand at Southgate Shopping Center in Tumwater. Lions member Marc Eriksen said they sold $30 worth of fireworks Wednesday and Thursday, and business was only slightly better Friday.

“I totally understand it,” he said, citing the weather and fire concerns. Officials have urged residents to forgo personal fireworks this year. The club usually raises about $1,400 from fireworks sales, but sales have been declining the past couple years, he said.

“Fortunately, our big fundraiser is Christmas trees,” Eriksen said. And the club can send back unsold fireworks, so it won’t lose money.

There’s no end in sight to the hot, dry weather. Saturday is forecast for 88 degrees, Sunday for a scorching 95, and Monday back “down” to 86. Overnight lows will be in the high 50s. No rain is in sight through Thursday on the extended forecast.

As of Friday afternoon, firefighters around the county were responding to small brush fires, but nothing that threatened buildings or caused injuries. A 1.2 acre fire Thursday near River Ridge High School was suspected to be caused by two young men, who were arrested and booked on suspicion of second-degree arson.

Here are some holiday reminders:

Fireworks

Fireworks may only be sold in unincorporated Thurston County at licensed “safe and sane” stands from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 4.

Fireworks may only be discharged in unincorporated Thurston County from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4.

In Lacey and Olympia city limits, it’s illegal to purchase and discharge any fireworks.

Professional fireworks

Tumwater Artesian Family Festival: Gates open at 6 p.m. Saturday, fireworks at 10:15 p.m. at Tumwater Valley Golf Course; 4611 Tumwater Valley Drive SE, Tumwater.

Livestock

Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County is compiling a list of safe destinations for livestock that have been displaced because of fire. Information: har-otc.org, email info@har-otc.com or call 360-701-2007.

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