As noted here in our coverage of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s June meeting, this is the second year for the fireworks ban in unincorporated King County, first year for enforcement. That does NOT mean deputies will be driving around citing people, however. Here’s the announcement with all the info you need:
The use and sale of consumer fireworks are prohibited in the unincorporated areas of King County. The county will begin enforcement of the fireworks ban and could issue citations to violators. Education about the ban and the reasons for it will still be provided.
Last year, the use and sale of consumer fireworks were officially prohibited in the unincorporated areas of King County, including communities such as White Center, Skyway, East Federal Way, Fairwood and the East Renton area.
The ban marked a big change for some, so King County’s initial enforcement goal was to inform and educate violators about the new rules.
This year, the county will begin enforcement of the fireworks ban, which could include issuing citations to violators. Education about the fireworks ban and the reasons for it will still be provided.
Enforcement will be managed by the Code Enforcement team in the King County Permitting Division. It will investigate complaints it receives about illegal fireworks use/sale only in unincorporated King County. Much like reporting a building safety or nuisance issue, reporting fireworks violations will require giving a specific property address. The person reporting the violation must have evidence and be willing to testify in person or in writing at a hearing in order for the County to take enforcement action.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help residents determine whether/how they can report a fireworks violation during the upcoming season:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are fireworks allowed in unincorporated King County?
A. No, the sale and use of consumer fireworks in unincorporated King County are strictly prohibited. Note: commercial displays by licensed pyrotechnicians are still allowed with a permit.
Q. I heard the ban went into effect last year – why weren’t citations issued then?
A. King County’s goal during the ban’s first year was to educate fireworks users about the ban. In many cases, potential violators received letters informing them that continued violations could result in citations.
Q. I live in a city like Seattle or Renton. Can I still report violations to King County?
A. No. King County will investigate complaints only for properties located in unincorporated King County. “Unincorporated King County” means outside of city limits.
Q. I know people are lighting off fireworks, but I don’t have a specific address – will you still investigate?
A. No. Code Enforcement will not investigate any complaint it receives for fireworks incidents on private property that does not include a specific address located within unincorporated King County.
Q. I have an address, but do I have to give my name and contact information when reporting?
A. Ideally, yes. While the person reporting isn’t legally required to give their name and contact information, anonymous complaints about fireworks on private property will only result in an informational letter to the property owner.
Q. Will I have to testify about the complaint I made?
A. Much like providing your name and contact information, you are not legally required to testify in writing or in person before a hearing examiner about your complaint. However, a citation with a penalty will only be issued if the complainant is willing to testify. Otherwise, the alleged violator will only be issued an educational warning letter.
Q. What about people who are lighting off fireworks in the street, park, or other public property?
A. Code Enforcement does not investigate complaints about fireworks use on public right-of-way or other public property like schools or parks. In those instances, contact the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Q. Will King County actively patrol for fireworks violations?
A. No. Code Enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office do not actively patrol for fireworks violations. Complaints must be filed through the regular code enforcement channels (see “How to report fireworks violations” below).
Q. What if I see actual or potential danger to people or property from fireworks? Who do I report it to then?
A. In instances where a threat to life, physical injury, or property damage may occur, contact the King County Sheriff’s Office by calling 9-1-1.
Q. Where can I find more information?
A. Go to www.Kingcounty.gov/reportfireworks for more information. You can also direct general queries to our customer support email and phone number at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-477-3800.
How to report fireworks violations
Please note: reports made by e-mail or by phone will be responded to the next business day.
Residents can report violators to Code Enforcement:
-Online by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/reportfireworks (Users will have to sign up for our system)
-Online via the King County Permits website (Permits – King County). Select “File a complaint” in the Code Enforcement section. On the new screen, scroll down to “Enforcement” and click on “File a Complaint.” No registration necessary.
-Online via the Accela permit and complaint portal: King County, Washington – Accela. Scroll down to “Enforcement” and click on “File a Complaint.” No registration necessary.
-Phone: (206) 848-0800