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‘Don’t Blow It, Cut The Fuse’: Reminder that setting off fireworks is prohibited in unincorporated King County

Summary

This is the first July 4th holiday that fireworks are banned in unincorporated King County. With the focus on educating communities about the changes, Local Services encourages residents to attend a public display or find other ways to celebrate.

Story

With the July 4th holiday this weekend, Local Services reminds residents that the use and sale of consumer fireworks are not allowed in unincorporated King County.

This is the first year that fireworks have been banned in the unincorporated areas such as Skyway, White Center, Snoqualmie Valley, Greater Maple Valley, Enumclaw Plateau and Vashon Island.

In other words, #Dontblowit and #cutthefuse on fireworks if you’re in unincorporated King County this year.

Although it’s a big change for some, residents are encouraged to find ways to celebrate the Fourth of July that don’t endanger residents, pets or property.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to celebrate the Fourth of July safely and without fireworks. Below is a sampling of ideas, courtesy of the King County Fire Chiefs Association:

  • Light up the night with glowsticks or glow-in-the-dark bubbles
  • Have an outdoor movie night
  • Bake a cake for America’s birthday
  • Make a statement with noise makers
  • Have fun with red, white and blue with Silly String
  • Decorate your porch or yard
  • Find fun craft and coloring activities for kids
  • Dress up your pets!

And if residents still want to enjoy fireworks without directly using them, consider attending a public display (here’s a list of public displays, courtesy of The Seattle Times). Many of the annual fireworks displays were canceled last year due to the pandemic but several of those are back on this year (please follow mask and social distancing recommendations).

 

Violators of the fireworks ban                             

With this year being the first that fireworks aren’t permitted, King County is emphasizing community education about the new rules and is deferring issuing citations for a year.

However, that doesn’t mean folks will be able to light fireworks without repercussion.

Residents can report violators to the King County Permitting Division:

 

  • Online by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/reportfireworks (Follow the steps below)
    • First-time users will have to register for Permitting’s online customer portal system
    • Once you’ve registered, click on “Ask a Question”
    • On the “Topic” pull-down menu on the next page, click “Fireworks” and submit the information

 

  • Phone: 206-848-0800.

 

King County will issue a warning to alleged violators and include them in our records. If the behavior continues, these violators will likely be the first to eventually receive $250 citations.

 

Local Services is finalizing the details of how violators will be cited beginning in 2023.

 

First year of fireworks ban

In 2021, Executive Constantine signed the ban into law prohibiting the use and sale of consumer fireworks, and state law required a year before the ban took effect. This is the first year that fireworks have been banned in unincorporated King County.

County leaders had discussed a consumer fireworks ban in unincorporated areas for years. There have been several wildfires in rural parts of the county during recent dry summers, and several fireworks-related injuries and other incidents in urban areas—including a 2019 house fire in White Center in which a person died.

The new rules bring the unincorporated areas in line with most neighboring King County cities and jurisdictions with established fireworks bans on their books.

 

QUOTES

  • King County Executive Dow Constantine: “We acknowledge and respect that there is a longstanding tradition of individuals and families celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks - that's true for our family too. But in a county of 2.3 million people, with many of our cities already having prohibited fireworks, doing the same in unincorporated King County is a necessary step to ensure safety and prevent tragedies. This brings unincorporated King County in line with neighboring jurisdictions, and we all agree that there are much safer ways, including licensed, professional fireworks displays, to celebrate the July 4th holiday.”

 

  • King County Councilmember Joe McDermott: “It’s up to us, as neighbors and community members, to ensure no children go to the hospital, no houses are burned, and no pets are lost in the name of celebration. We can have fun and keep each other safe by keeping fireworks out of our neighborhoods and in the hands of professionals who can put on a fantastic and inspiring show for everyone to enjoy.”

 

  • Local Services Director John Taylor: “The safety of our communities in unincorporated King County is a top priority. Unfortunately, we saw too many times how the use of fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday put our communities at risk, with many of our most vulnerable populations getting injured or even killed. While not ideal for some, many in our community urged us to take this step.”

 

  • King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts: “We understand that this fireworks ban might represent a basic change in the July 4th celebration activities for some people. We’re taking extra efforts this year to educate folks about these changes, and we’re stressing that fireworks can be dangerous, traumatic and are absolutely not allowed in unincorporated King County.”

 

 

LINKS

 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brent Champaco, Local Services, 206-477-9094,
brent.champaco@kingcounty.gov