The region’s big Independence Day fireworks display on the National Mall is expected to kick off around 9:10 p.m. tonight
The display will last about 17 minutes, according to the National Park Service. For those who want to watch the fireworks from this side of the Potomac River, there are a number of places to watch the fireworks in and around Arlington tonight.
- Long Bridge Park
- Air Force Memorial
- Iwo Jima Memorial (Marine Corps War Memorial)
- Rosslyn Gateway Park
- Gravelly Point
- Pentagon Reservation
- Key Bridge
Numerous road closures will be put in place to keep fireworks watchers safe. The planned closures include Memorial Bridge, Memorial Circle, and portions of Columbia Pike, eastbound Route 50, Washington Boulevard, and Long Bridge Drive. A full list is available on the Arlington County Police Department website.
Additionally, police are reminding fireworks-goers that grills, fireworks and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on county and federal park lands. Coolers and backpacks will be subject to search.
If you’re planning on going out to watch the fireworks, you might want to pack an umbrella. Storms are possible between 5:00 and 10:00 tonight, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA.
Send us your fireworks and Fourth of July celebration photos via our Flickr page. We’ll be publishing a number of Flickr photos tomorrow. Want to know how to take great fireworks photos? See the guide posted by We Love DC.
Dislosure: Arlington County is advertising its Fourth of July event at Long Bridge Park with ARLnow.com.
Capt. Gregg Karl says the first step to fireworks safety is to make sure you’re using fireworks that are legal in Arlington County. Any fireworks purchased from an authorized fireworks stand in the county should comply with county regulations, Karl said. Those regulations specify that the fireworks emit a flame or spark less than 12 feet in the air.
Any fireworks that are “projectiles, explode, emit flames or sparks to a distance greater than twelve (12) feet are prohibited by Arlington County,” according to the county’s fireworks safety web page. The fire department also has a 42 page long list of fireworks approved for use in Arlington.
To prevent your fireworks from lighting anything on fire, Karl recommends placing them away from structures and watering down any nearby grass or brush.
“If you’re going to do any [legal fireworks], make sure you’re away from buildings and combustibles,” he said. “If you’re on grass, make sure you wet the ground around it. Please use extreme caution due to the dry conditions.”
Karl noted that fireworks should not be lit on county streets or sidewalks.
Other personal fireworks safety tips from the county include:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
Arlington fire marshals will be patrolling the county and responding to resident complaints about fireworks tomorrow, Karl said. Any illegal fireworks will be confiscated and a warning will be issued. Repeat offenders may be issued a summons to appear in court.
Police will also be on the lookout for illegal fireworks, but will be more focused on traffic control efforts connected to the fireworks display on the National Mall. The fireworks are scheduled to run between 9:10 and 9:30 p.m. Viewing areas in and around Arlington include the Iwo Jima memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Gravelly Point, Rosslyn Gateway Park and Long Bridge Park.
“Our Special Operations Section is going to be out there directing and monitoring all traffic,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The long holiday weekend has begun, and that means many county services are stopped or altered. Here’s a list of changes:
- All courts are closed.
- DMV locations are closed.
- All libraries are closed.
- Human services offices are closed.
- Park grounds are open but all administrative offices are closed.
- Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center is open from 6:00am-6:00pm. All other centers are closed.
- Trash and recycling pickup runs on regular service, but some special collections are altered.
- Public swimming pools are on an altered schedule.
The police department has also provided a list of road closures for activities on July 4. In addition, police are reminding event attendees that:
- Alcoholic beverages, grills and fireworks are prohibited on county and federal parkland during Independence Day activities.
- Vendors will not be allowed in the area of the Iwo Jima Memorial.
- Coolers and backpacks are subject to search.
Officials are encouraging people heading to the Air Force Memorial or the Iwo Jima memorial to watch the fireworks to take public transportation.
Flickr pool photo by Timkelley
You know the Fourth of July is almost here when fireworks sellers start popping up around the area.
A fireworks booth is now up and running at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, offering all manner of sparklers and (legal) pyrotechnics.
The booth accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard.
Firefighters initially responded to the Falls Church shopping center this morning for an activated fire alarm. They quickly discovered that the alarm was set off by fireworks being ignited inside the building.
Arlington fire marshals responded and, after determining the problem was more widespread than just one store, Falls Church Police and additional Arlington units were called in. Fire marshals are now conducting a sweep of the shopping center and confiscating illegal fireworks.
They’ve found enough fireworks so far to fill a 44 gallon trash can and a 18×12 box, according to fire department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl, who noted that police will be stepping up their fireworks enforcement.
“Anybody who is caught lighting fireworks inside the building will be issued summons or arrested,” he said.
Photo courtesy Arlington Fire Department
The Arlington County Fire Marshal’s office is calling for backup at the Eden Center in Fall Church, which is apparently going in a bit overboard in celebrating the Chinese New Year.
“They’re shooting fireworks all around this area,” a fire official radioed to dispatchers a few minutes ago, while requesting that Fall Church Police respond to the shopping center.
Arlington firefighters initially responded to the center for an activated fire alarm. They quickly determined that the fire alarm was set off by fireworks and called in the fire marshal.
Today marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Rabbit is supposed to be quiet and peaceful, but given the ruckus at Eden Center that doesn’t seem to be the case so far.
Eden Center, which is primarily a Vietnamese shopping center, is actually celebrating the Year of the Cat, as the above poster illustrates. The Chinese character for rabbit translates to cat in Vietnamese, according to Wikipedia.
Arlington provides fire department services to Falls Church under contract.
Happy Fourth of July Weekend! — Wondering where to watch fireworks in Arlington? The county has a handy national fireworks viewing guide just for you.
Metro Board Approves Virginia Funding Deal — During an emergency session, Metro’s board of directors approved a $300 million funding deal with Virginia, which had earlier threatened to withhold its funding unless the state received two seats on the Metro board. With the deal complete, Metro will be able to order more than 400 new, badly-needed rail cars to replace aging and trouble-prone 1000-series cars.
Virginia Still Pushing for Seats on Metro Board — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and state transportation secretary Sean Connaughton are continuing their push to receive two seats on the Metro board, but they may have to wait awhile to get them. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which divvies up the seats allocated to Northern Virginia, deferred a crucial vote on the matter to September. More from the Washington Post.