scenic picture from Washington state
SubjectsPublic Safety › Fireworks Regulation
Updated 06/2014

Fireworks Regulation

Contents

Introduction

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

Some jurisdictions have adopted the state regulations by reference and some have adopted the provisions of the International Fire Code. The local government provisions must comply with the Washington state regulations. A number of jurisdictions have banned the use of consumer fire works and only allow public displays, while others allow the discharge of fire works on certain days. Exemptions are made for religious and other special uses.

About 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 United States Department of Transportation - see 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. See 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 - see RCW 70.77.355. There are also insurance requirements for retail fireworks stands - see RCW 70.77.270(3).

Retail Stands for Sale of Fireworks

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

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

Fireworks may be used and discharged:

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

Counties and cities can be more restrictive that state restrictions and can even ban all sale and discharge of fireworks, but they cannot be more liberal. See the state supreme court decision Brown v. Yakima, 116 Wn.2d 556 (1991), which held that the state fireworks law does not prevent a local government from enacting an ordinance more restrictive than state law.
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 website lists Jurisdictions in Washington with Ordinances Restricting or Banning Fireworks . Cities and counties should carefully review any proposed ordinance to make sure that the provisions are not in conflict with the state law and the current WAC regulations. Many fire departments and fire districts have staff with some knowledge of fireworks regulations, and the Washington State Patrol director of fire protection may be able to provide assistance.

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 state law, 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 one p.m. and eleven fifty-nine p.m. on July 3rd and July 4th, and between the hours of six p.m. on December 31st and one a.m. on January 1st.
  • Puyallup Municipal Code Ch. 16.20 - Fireworks - Discharge restricted to the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on July 4th.
  • Thurston County Code Ch. 6.68 Fireworks Permits and Tumwater Municipal Code Ch. 8.30 - Fireworks - Both 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.
  • Vancouver Municipal Code Ch. 16.20 - Fireworks and Ch.16.30 - Consumer Fireworks - Consumer discharge of consumer fireworks is allowed  only on July 4th between the hours of nine o'clock a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
    • New City Fireworks Law Now in Effect, Use Restricted to July 4th Only, Press Release 06/16/2014
  • Walla Walla Municipal Code Ch. 8.09 - Fireworks - Approved fireworks may be discharged between nine a.m. on July 4th and twelve a.m. on July 5th, and between six p.m. on December 31st and one a.m. on January 1st

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

  • Bellevue Municipal Code Sec. 23.11.5608.2 - Fireworks discharge prohibited and Sec. 23.11.5608.2.3 - Standards for Fireworks Displays, International Fire Code Amended - fireworks provisions
  • Kirkland's Fireworks Ban Effective Year Round News Release, 06/25/2014
  • 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. 33 - Explosives and Fireworks
  • Tacoma Municipal Code Ch. 3.12 - Fireworks

Public Information

Additional References

Need more information?

Feel free to Ask MRSC. Washington cities, counties, and our contract partners can call or email MRSC for more information and advice - free of charge.