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Fireworks Regulation in Washington State

This page provides regulatory information on fireworks, sample provisions from Washington cities and counties, and additional reference sources.

Introduction

Local government provisions must be consistent with the Washington State statutes and regulations regarding fireworks, although they can be more restrictive. A number of jurisdictions have banned the use of consumer fireworks and allow only public displays, while others allow the discharge of fireworks on fewer days than allowed under state law. Exemptions are made for religious and other special uses.

Fireworks Regulation in Washington

The State of Washington has not completely preempted local government regulation of fireworks, but fireworks regulation is largely governed by the state fireworks law, chapter 70.77 RCW and the administrative regulations adopted by the Washington State Patrol, chapter 212-17 WAC.

RCW 70.77.250(1) provides that "the chief of the Washington state patrol, through the director of fire protection, shall enforce and administer this chapter." Additionally, though federal law does not directly cover local use of fireworks, the Washington statutes defining consumer fireworks incorporate classifications adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and United States Department of Transportation, RCW 70.77.136. In short, this is an area where local governments need to be careful concerning what they can and cannot regulate.

State Licenses and Local Government Permits

Any individual or company wanting to manufacture, import or sell fireworks, or make a public display of fireworks, needs a state license and a permit from the appropriate local government jurisdiction (city or county) where the action is to take place, RCW 70.77.255 and 70.77.315. There are bonding and insurance requirements for any individual or company putting on a public fireworks display. RCW 70.77.355. There are also insurance requirements for retail fireworks stands. RCW 70.77.270(3).

Retail Stands for Sale of Fireworks

The state regulates temporary or permanent structures where fireworks are sold or stored. WAC 212-17-21505 - General provisions. There are state regulations dealing with the siting and setbacks required of retail fireworks stands. RCW 70.77.270.

Dates and Times Fireworks May Be Sold or Discharged

State law sets the allowable times for sale or discharge of fireworks. Fireworks may be sold and purchased from:

  1. Noon to 11 p.m. on June 28;
  2. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 29 through July 4;
  3. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 5;
  4. Noon to 11 p.m. on December 27 through December 31.

Fireworks may be used and discharged from:

  1. Noon to 11 p.m. on June 28;
  2. 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 29 through July 3;
  3. 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4; (4) from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 5;
  4. 6 p.m. on December 31 to 1 a.m. on January 1. (RCW 70.77.395)

Counties and cities can be more restrictive than state restrictions and can even ban all sale and discharge of fireworks, but they cannot be less restrictive. The state supreme court decision Brown v. Yakima, 116 Wn.2d 556 (1991), held that the state fireworks law does not prevent a local government from enacting an ordinance more restrictive than state law. However, any local rules that are more restrictive may be effective no sooner than one year from their adoption. RCW 70.77.250(4).

Local Government Regulatory Ordinances

Below are samples of fireworks ordinances from several jurisdictions. The Washington State Patrol has a list of cities and counties with fireworks laws or ordinances that are more restrictive than state law . Cities and counties should carefully review any proposed ordinance to make sure it is not in conflict with state law.

Statutes and Regulations

Emergency Provisions for Fire Danger

  • Douglas County Code Sec. 8.20.160 - Fireworks Sale Restrictions During Certain Emergencies
  • San Juan County Code Sec. 9.20.080 - Prohibition Due to Extreme Fire Danger

Provisions Allowing Sale and Use of Fireworks

Provisions vary from the time of day to the days in which consumer fireworks can be used without special permits. However, RCW 70.77.395 sets the parameters.

  • Clark County Code Ch. 5.28 - Sale of Fireworks - Use permitted June 28 (noon) until July 4 (midnight)
  • Douglas County Code Ch. 8.20 - Fireworks - Discharge allowed during the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on July 3 and July 4, and between the hours of 6:00 p.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.
  • Puyallup Municipal Code Ch. 16.20 - Fireworks - Discharge restricted to the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on July 4.
  • Thurston County Code Ch. 6.68 - Fireworks Permits - Restrict discharge of consumer fire works to July 3 and July 4, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • Tumwater Municipal Code Ch. 8.30 - Fireworks - Restricts discharge of consumer fire works to July 3 and July 4, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • Vancouver Municipal Code
    • Ch. 16.20 - Fireworks
    • Ch. 16.30 - Consumer Fireworks - Consumer discharge of consumer fireworks is allowed only on July 4 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • Walla Walla Municipal Code Ch. 8.09 - Fireworks - Approved fireworks may be discharged between 9:00 a.m. on July 4 and 12:00 a.m. on July 5, and between 6:00 p.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1

Provisions Prohibiting Sale and Use of Fireworks Except for Public Displays, Religious Activities, and Private Events

  • Bellevue Municipal Code
  • Kirkland Municipal Code Ch. 11.60 - Fireworks
  • Shoreline Municipal Code Ch. 9.15 - Fireworks
  • Spokane Valley Municipal Code Ch.7.15 - Fireworks
  • Yakima County Code Ch. 8.46 - Fireworks - In addition to religious exemptions, exceptions are made for production of motion pictures, theatricals or operas when such use and display are a necessary part of the production by permit.

Provisions Relating to the Public Display of Fireworks

  • Burien Municipal Code Sec. 5.30.080 - Standards for Public Fireworks Displays
  • Seattle Fire Code Ch. 56 - Explosives and Fireworks
  • Tacoma Municipal Code Ch. 3.12 - Fireworks

Public Information

Additional References


Last Modified: July 06, 2015
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