King County fireworks ban approved by full council


King County fireworks ban approved by full 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 White Center 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.

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