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Fireworks Regulation in Washington State

This page provides an overview of fireworks laws that apply to Washington cities and counties, including information on permitting and licensing, dates and times fireworks may be sold or discharged, and examples of local ordinances.


Overview

State law governs the regulation of fireworks, including what fireworks are legal, licensing for public fireworks displays and for fireworks sellers, and when fireworks may be discharged. However, it leaves some room for local regulation, such as when fireworks may be sold or discharged and for cities and counties to completely prohibit the sale and discharge of fireworks.

Important Reminder: Any local fireworks ordinances that are more restrictive than state law may not take effect until at least one year after adoption.


Fireworks Laws

The Washington State Patrol enforces the state fireworks laws:


Permitting and Licensing

State License

A license issued by the State Patrol is required for:

  • Wholesale and/or retail fireworks sales, manufacturing, or importing (RCW 70.77.315).
  • Possession or use of fireworks, other than consumer fireworks lawfully purchased at retail (RCW 70.77.255(4) and RCW 70.77.315).
  • Public display of fireworks (including those put on by local governments). A "public display of fireworks" is defined by RCW 70.77.160 as "an entertainment feature where the public is or could be admitted or allowed to view the display or discharge of display fireworks."

There are licensing exceptions for the purchase and use of certain agricultural and wildlife fireworks by government agencies and for the purchase of consumer fireworks by religious or private organizations for "religious or specific purposes," provided a permit is obtained from the local fire official (RCW 70.77.311).

Local Permit

In addition to obtaining a the state license, RCW 70.77.260(1) instructs anyone wishing to manufacture, import, sell, or transport fireworks must also obtain a local permit issued by a city or county (as the case may be) prior to carrying out these activities.

Application is to be made to the "local fire official" (RCW 70.77.260), who submits a report of findings and a recommendation for or against the issuance of the permit, together with reasons, to the governing body (RCW 70.77.265). The governing body, or a person designated by the governing body, must grant the permit if it meets state standards and any standards that may be adopted by local ordinance (RCW 70.77.270). The governing body must complete this process:

  • by June 10, or no less than 30 days after receipt of an application, whichever date occurs first, for sales commencing on June 28 and on December 27; or
  • by December 10, or no less than 30 days after receipt of an application, whichever date occurs first, for sales commencing only on December 27 (RCW 70.77.270).

If the application is for a public display permit, only the city or county governing body (not a designee) may grant the permit, based on an investigation by the fire official (RCW 70.77.280).

Prohibited Fireworks in Washington State

RCW 70.77.401 prohibits the sale of, or offer to sell, the following types of fireworks:

[C]onsumer fireworks which are classified as sky rockets, or missile-type rockets, firecrackers, salutes, or chasers as defined by the United States department of transportation and the federal consumer products safety commission except as provided in RCW 70.77.311.


Dates and Times Fireworks May Be Sold or Discharged

RCW 70.77.395 sets the allowable times for sale or discharge of fireworks.

Fireworks may be sold and purchased on the following dates and times:

  • June 28: 12:00—11:00 p.m.
  • June 29—July 4: 9:00 a.m.—11:00 p.m.
  • July 5: 9:00 a.m.—9:00 p.m.
  • December 27—31: 12:00—11:00 p.m.

Fireworks may be used and discharged on the following dates and times:

  • June 28: 12:00—11:00 p.m.
  • June 29—July 3: 9:00 a.m.—11:00 p.m.
  • July 4: 9:00 a.m.—12:00 a.m. on July 5.
  • July 5: 9:00 a.m.—11:00 p.m.
  • December 31: 6:00 p.m.—1:00 a.m. on January 1

Cities and counties may, by ordinance, further restrict the days and times when fireworks may be sold and discharged. Cities and counties may also prohibit entirely the sale and discharge of fireworks. However, any such ordinance further restricting when fireworks may be sold or discharged, or which prohibits their sale and discharge, may not take effect until at least one year after adoption, per RCW 70.77.250(4).


Local Ordinances

The state Fire Prevention Bureau, a division of the Washington State Patrol, maintains a list of all cities and counties that identifies which have adopted ordinances that are more restrictive than state fireworks laws, including those that ban fireworks entirely, and which follow state restrictions. See Cities and Counties that Have Adopted Fireworks Ban or Restricted Sales/Use.

Examples of Codes that Vary Use/Discharge Times from State Law

Examples of Codes that Prohibit Fireworks (with some Exceptions)

The following ordinances prohibit fireworks entirely with exceptions such as public displays, religious activities, private events, and agricultural and wildlife uses.

Examples of Codes that Allow Fireworks Prohibitions during Emergency Conditions

Some jurisdictions have adopted ordinances, effective after the statutory, 1-year waiting period, that authorize specific officials to prohibit fireworks during emergency conditions such as high fire danger. There are varying viewpoints about whether state law allows such emergency prohibitions.

  • Camas Ordinance No. 15-015 (2015) – Allows the mayor, after consulting with the fire chief, fire marshals, and other officials, to prohibit the discharge of fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger.
  • Kittitas County Ordinance No. 2016-005 – Allows the fire marshal to impose an emergency fireworks ban when fire danger exceeds specific criteria.
  • Leavenworth Municipal Code Sec. 8.36.160 – Allows the fire official to prohibit the discharge of fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger.
  • Poulsbo Municipal Code Sec. 8.20.275 (effective 2017) – If Kitsap County has a burn ban in place, this code allows the fire chief to prohibit fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger.
  • Whatcom County Code Sec. 5.20.105 – Allows the county executive (in coordination with the fire marshal and sheriff) to prohibit the discharge of private fireworks if/when the county issues a ban on outdoor burning or extenuating emergency conditions exist.

Last Modified: August 17, 2017