FOLLOWUP: King County Council passes fireworks ban for unincorporated areas

Almost 13 years after we first reported on a potential fireworks ban for unincorporated King County, it’s on its way to becoming law. Here’s the announcement from the County Council:

Fireworks will be illegal in unincorporated King County starting in 2022, thanks to legislation approved Tuesday by the King County Council.

Sponsored by King County Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Claudia Balducci, the legislation will prohibit all types of fireworks including sparklers and smoke bombs.

“While there are plenty of good reasons to support a full ban on consumer fireworks, I am driven by the tragic loss of life and property in White Center in 2019,” McDermott said. “It is past time for King County to do what most cities and parks have already done. People in unincorporated King County deserve the same protections as those living in cities.”

McDermott was referring to the 2019 house fire in North Highline resulting in the death of a 70-year-old man, his two dogs and displacement of 12 residents in the neighboring home. All of this was caused by fireworks. Elsewhere around the state and across the West, numerous wildfires have been triggered by fireworks, including some that left people dead or injured and caused millions of dollars in damage and costs to contain them. The calls of community members, individuals dealing with PTSD, and first responders like fire commissioners and marshals have made clear that fireworks present a clear public risk and public health hazard for our entire region.

“Personal safety, fire safety, and distress to people and pets are some of the good reasons many King County cities have adopted firework regulations,” Balducci said. “It just makes sense to expand these protections to our King County residents.”

This new ban brings unincorporated King County communities in line with most other jurisdictions in King County so there can be no more confusion: if it’s a firework, it is not legal in unincorporated King County.

Families in King County can still take the opportunity to enjoy fireworks displays safely by attending properly permitted, professional displays throughout the county.

State law requires a one-year waiting period before the ban can take effect, so it will be effective before July 4, 2022. In the meantime, county departments will plan for enforcement strategies that involve immediate, unarmed, non-police responses for potential violations and undertake an educational campaign about the new law.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

5 Responses to “FOLLOWUP: King County Council passes fireworks ban for unincorporated areas”

  1. Yes! No more scramble to clean roof and gutters, rake up constantly dropping pine needles and vigilantly watering my lawn for a month. One fire from a firework tossed from a moving car was enough.

  2. Thank you, Joe!

  3. Wow banning sparklers….. good luck enforcing these rules.

    Wish the king county council would work on the growing homeless encampmemts instead of taking away personal freedoms. In the name of public safety, seems far more important.

  4. Thank you SO much for making our community safer and listening to everyone and making an informed and thoughtful decision. It’s not easy, we all enjoy traditions and holidays. We will just continue to celebrate, but will adapt, and watch professional shows with the fire department standing by.

  5. Thank you! Every year the fireworks in our neighborhood get bigger, louder and last until way after midnight! I use to enjoy them but neighbor’s are blowing up illegal ones and those cause the problems!!