FIREWORKS REMINDERS: The rules, the parks, the pets

(File photo, fireworks debris at Highland Park Playground)

One week until the 4th of July, which means it’s time to talk about fireworks. They’re illegal in Seattle city limits – but the law is so widely ignored that the 5th of July brings toxic, ugly messes like the one in our file photo from Highland Park Playground.

Some of the problem here stems from fireworks remaining legal right next door, in unincorporated North Highline (White Center and vicinity). Sales at legal stands in the unincorporated area start tomorrow, but use is only legal – again, only in the unincorporated area – 9 am to midnight on July 4th. (The full list of regulations statewide – county to county, city to city, specific dates and times – is here.)

Meantime, Seattle Parks hopes again this year to discourage illegal fireworks use at some of its facilities – particularly synthetic-turf playfields, where a fire would do extremely costly damage. It’s announced it will illuminate certain playfields on the 4th – here’s the full list of locations and times; in West Seattle, the locations are Delridge, Hiawatha, and Walt Hundley Playfields, along with West Seattle Stadium.

Still not dissuaded? Think of the pets. This alert is from King County.

47 Replies to "FIREWORKS REMINDERS: The rules, the parks, the pets"

  • Scott June 27, 2016 (11:50 am)

    People in West Seattle don’t care about the rules.  It is sad that people can’t think of others.  I had kids up the block blowing them off and the fire danger was very high due to the dry weather.  FYI if you plan on calling the none emergency line to report don’t bother.  I called last year and no one came.  I had someone trying to blow off fire works in a glass bottle  which is an IED in my eyes.   

    • Jim P. June 27, 2016 (12:16 pm)

      Even when people set off what sound like **** anti-tank mines you can’t get a police response.

      When the bang is so loud you can hear it echo repeatedly off the hills around West Seattle, it’s getting stupid out.

      Some of these louts are quite mobile:  You’ll hear a huge bang and then a few minutes later another similar one from a slightly different direction so I presume some are driving around so as not to be caught in case the police happen by (by accident).

    • Joe Bags June 27, 2016 (12:22 pm)


  • Diane June 27, 2016 (12:04 pm)

    there were also fireworks at Hiawatha Park late last night

    • JanS June 27, 2016 (6:27 pm)

      yes, Diane…I heard them…and there were some right outside my building (just east of Safeway). Scared the crap out of me, they were so loud. There is no cure for stupid. I’ve heard it can even be terminal :(

  • Carole June 27, 2016 (12:04 pm)

    Thought I heard some Sunday evening.  Assumed someone was getting an early start on the chaos.

  • Rob June 27, 2016 (12:08 pm)

    I found it good to put my dog in a back room with the tv turned up a bit and keep the window closed

  • EmilyC June 27, 2016 (12:44 pm)

    We finally finished digging out a massive burned out Spirea that caught on fire last Fourth when someone threw a lit firework out their car window while driving by. The time and cost for us to clean up this mess … I’m still bitter. 

  • B June 27, 2016 (12:46 pm)

    Is it wrong that every time some yahoo sets off fireworks in the park next door, I pray to hear a scream following them? 

    Seriously though, it’s become a mess. It’s not fourth of july anymore, it’s “July is the month for fireworks!” I don’t think the police would find it that hard to catch people either, they’re so brazen – just sit outside the parks. 

    • Alyxx Berg June 27, 2016 (1:26 pm)

      It’s a terrible thought. And one I have repeatedly throughout the month.  It’s been a year since my beloved Rowan passed, she was so scared of the fireworks, it was a nightmare for her for 14 years. (Dog) – my current dog doesn’t mind them as much, but I hate them. I hate having to figure out “was that a firework or a gun shot” over and over again.

      The mess in the parks and our yards is bad enough, the injuries are appalling, and the police are busy with other things, I think. I’m over close to the White Center line, so it is really bad.

      I’d love to see them just banned. Pro shows only. But I’m an old fuddy-duddy, I guess.

  • Justin June 27, 2016 (12:47 pm)

    I find it more effective to go out yelling and shaming these individuals.  Everyone is right, the police don’t respond to these incidents – there’s just to many of them. 

    in Italy they have “quiet” fireworks so that pets and people won’t be disrupted. I wish we could have these, but it probably goes against the adolescent idiocracy of blowing things up for the sake of a boom.

  • Alan June 27, 2016 (12:56 pm)

    I understand that the police are overwhelmed most of the time now, but especially on the 4th of July. Still, it seems like a pure green light for them to just say they don’t have time to respond. It seems like all they would have to do is have a few officers dedicated to driving around and confiscating fireworks, while ticketing offenders. A few news reports of people losing their fireworks would at least then give people pause. If I liked fireworks and didn’t care about my neighbors, I would feel free to set off whatever I wanted, knowing that no police are coming.

  • At least it's an ethos June 27, 2016 (1:24 pm)

    The 4th is just a warm up for football season.


    • WSguy June 28, 2016 (7:57 am)

      This!!! So aggravating. There needs to be enforcement but you have to call 911 so it gets logged and put in the PD stats for it be seen as a problem.

    • Fiz June 28, 2016 (8:05 am)

      At Least,  thanks for starting my day with a big belly laugh.  Right on!

    • AJP June 28, 2016 (1:24 pm)

      Ugh, you’re so right. 

  • B June 27, 2016 (1:30 pm)

    Maybe if we pass a law that would give a percentage cut of any fines levied against people for fireworks, to the SPD retirement fund? 

  • dale June 27, 2016 (2:34 pm)

    Finally… One day,a year it pays off

     having a,deaf dog!Pierre… Good dog! ,…

     oops.. He can’t hear me!!

  • AMD June 27, 2016 (2:44 pm)

    Hopefully Seattle will be able to annex White Center if for no other reason than forcing the people who cannot handle getting through the month of July without setting something on fire to drive to the reservation to buy their fireworks.  

    I also just want to say that as much as i want to get irritated at police for not being more proactive, I think the real blame lies with the idiots who drink and drive every holiday forcing most of the force to be doing emphasis patrols and stopping the drunks before they kill people.

    Seriously, holiday DUI-ers.  Cabs are a thing.  Stop being stupid so we can have cops patrolling the neighborhood pyromaniacs instead.  Please and thank you.

  • Gene June 27, 2016 (3:11 pm)

    B – that was a totally unnecessary cheap shot. 

  • MsD June 27, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there have been a lot of lost/found dogs reported lately on WSB.  I’ve been hearing very loud explosions go off as soon as it gets dusk for the last few evenings (which means we get a couple hours of relative quiet between the 12 hours of daily heavy construction noise and the fireworks noise – lucky!).  I live on one of the main thoroughfares right in the middle of West Seattle and the illegal fireworks are just as bad here as in other less visible areas of WS where I’ve lived, and it will go on well into August.  I think this is the year that I finally just go check into a hotel on the 4th.  

  • Sunuva June 27, 2016 (3:27 pm)

    I had to coax the dog out from under the porch last night. While I enjoy a good fireworks show on the 4th, the extended fireworks season here is too much. My dog’s fear seems to get worse each year.

  • Katie June 27, 2016 (3:49 pm)

    there is a firework stand at Roxbury Lanes. It does not follow all of the rules according to King County. Want to make sure they have a hard time? Contact King County Sheriff. Here is the link to the application (

    Hers is the checklist:

    Distance stand is located from all buildings in the area (minimum is 50 feet).

    Distance stand is located from all streets, drives, road
    access, alleys, etc (minimum is 25 feet )

    Washington State Labor and Industries shall approve all electrical wiring for the stand.

    Distance stand is located from any gasoline dispensing, pump, vent, or flammable liquid/gas storage (minimum is 100 feet).

    Distance stand is located from hazardous accumulations of dry grass, brush or other debris (minimum is 25 feet).

    Location of fireworks storage when stand is not open


    There are several points up there that have been ignored. If they are ignoring these simple rules… what makes anyone think they are following all of the other ones?

    Look, I love freedom. I love America. I do not love a whole week of people blowing things up… so if we want to make a difference this year… report this stand to King County (its in White Center) and make sure they force this stand to follow the rules.

    • Katie June 27, 2016 (4:04 pm)

      I felt I should elaborate now that the comment was approved. This is the specific item that they could get in “trouble” for (or will at least make it difficult because they have to move the whole stand) “Distance stand is located from all streets, drives, road access, alleys, etc (minimum is 25 feet )”. The stand is basically next to the street… not 25 feet away. 

  • Jeannie June 27, 2016 (3:49 pm)

    There’s a gang of neighbors on the Brace Point beachfront, just south of the ferry terminal,  who have put on a huge fireworks show in the past years. They might feel they’re just having fun, but it’s obnoxious. Imagine the impact on wildlife (including the baby goslings, herons, etc., as well as on pets). Turning on the radio loudly, as well as the air conditioner, can be helpful, but you can still hear the explosions above all that.  If you want to have fun, go to a legal fireworks display, or just stay home and share a barbecue and some beer with your pals.

    And if you think you’re being patriotic by shooting off, keep in mind that the noise can be very upsetting to our brave veterans dealing with PTSD. Show some consideration for these people who have sacrificed so much.

  • flimflam June 27, 2016 (4:23 pm)

    as much as the noise bugs me (no pets though) it kills me to see all the litter from these inconsiderate folks. the least they could do after bothering the neighborhood night after night is to clean up a bit. the beaches especially.

  • Chris June 27, 2016 (4:29 pm)

    Now that West Seattle has its very own District 1 Councilmember – perhaps this is an issue that Lisa Herbold can take up? After all, the whole reason we instituted districts is to help ensure the unique interests of our diverse neighborhoods are represented on Council. This seems like the perfect opportunity.

    Find her on Facebook – or you can find her contact information on her website:

  • KK50 June 27, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    Response to Scott ” People in West Seattle don’t care about the rules”. I’ve lived in a part of WS (7 blocks X 5 blocks near the old Othello Fire house) for 12 years . I would estimate that well over 95 % follow the rules around fire works and all other things for that matter.  We all just feel it when a small percent don’t. That’s my take on it, people do care about the rules.

  • West June 27, 2016 (5:37 pm)

    Time to eat, drink and blow s–t up!  God love America

  • Susan June 27, 2016 (9:04 pm)

    Hoping our neighbors on 51st and Stevens go away for the holiday, though they have turned into year round firework displayers so I guess I wish they would go away period.

  • ellenp June 27, 2016 (9:48 pm)

    The south of the ferry dock people just let off several fireworks.  If they can’t obey the law, then I guess I won’t either when I go for a walk on their beach tomorrow.

  • Mr E June 27, 2016 (10:07 pm)

    A tad late with my response, but for those of you with pets:

    Be sure your pet is microchipped

    Know the location of your nearest emergency vet

    If you plan to use sedatives on your pet, introduce them now in small doses to gauge their reaction.

  • Howard June 28, 2016 (1:54 am)

    Wow, you guys hate fireworks! Ok the trash isn’t cool, nor is someone destroying your property but come on, it’s the 4th of July people. Be thankful you only have to listen to the sounds of war (for a day) and not live in a warzone.

    • WSguy June 28, 2016 (8:09 am)

      What? Litter and property damage are bad but it’s okay because it’s a holiday??? First of all, it’s litter, possible property damage, and noise pollution that affects pets, kids and veterans. It’s also just a general nuisance to a lot of people. Meanwhile, the scofflaws think it’s fine for them to break the law and disturb their neighbors in the name of a holiday or a touchdown. Truly obnoxious, thoughtless,  and selfish behavior.

      If you choose to live in a city where you have neighbors in close proximity, you should recognize your responsibility to be considerate of those around you. Otherwise, go back to the countryside.

      • AJP June 28, 2016 (1:27 pm)

        What WSGUY said. It’s so selfish.

    • Meg June 28, 2016 (10:58 pm)

      Hey Howard,

      First, it’s illegal to set off fireworks in Seattle.  Why should I be okay with something that’s against the law?  Second, it’s not just one day.  Where I live last year it started before the 4th and went on for weeks.  Yes, weeks.  Almost every day.  Then  the daily fireworks finally stopped.  But it was still weekly.  Towards the end of May/beginning of June I realized, wow, I haven’t heard any fireworks for maybe a week or two.  Then I realized it was going to start up again within a month and would continue for several more months.  So while I’m not living in  war zone  it often sounds like it  These are not cute little fireworks.  They’re explosives and they’re extremely loud.  And they go off in my neighborhood for months on end.  

  • Double Dub Resident June 28, 2016 (4:40 am)

    Wow, it’s been so quiet in my neighborhood that I almost forgot the 4th is coming. Knock on wood since usually I have some neighbors shooting off stuff weeks before the 4th. Now that I think about it, one set of neighbors moved, so it must have been them. 

    ‘Merica, eat, get drunk, and blow up Chinese made fireworks in the guise of patriotism. Gimme a break. 

  • anonyme June 28, 2016 (7:24 am)

    Howard, what’s the difference?  Living in a war zone, or merely a simulation?  What is the point?  And what’s patriotic about blowing stuff up anyway?  That makes the Tsarnaev brothers good, patriotic Americans – who used fireworks to construct the bombs they used at the Boston Marathon.

    The fireworks around my neighborhood are not a few sparklers and little firecrackers.  They are massive affairs consisting of hundreds of bottle rockets and every other kind of explosive device.   There are often as many as 5 or 6 of these displays per block.  There is a reason why legal setbacks are required for fireworks, and those are nowhere near met when neighbors 20 feet away are shooting off rockets with no idea or concern with where they will land.  Last year, I went outside to talk to a neighbor as the fireworks began in earnest.  After just a minute or two, we were both forced back inside because the toxic rain of particulate matter was burning our skin and scalps.  This highly carcinogenic dust blankets the ground where we grow our vegetable gardens and let our children and pets play.  Much of it runs off and ends up in Puget Sound. 

    Other large cities, even those that allow some fireworks, do not have the problem we do.  Law abiding citizens should not have to be driven from their homes due to a holiday of lawlessness, endorsed and encouraged by SPD and City officials.  No more excuses.  Violations should be fined to the full extent of the law, without warning. 

  • Bill Bob June 28, 2016 (7:51 am)

    It was fun…when I was 12.

  • Born on Alki 59 June 28, 2016 (8:57 am)

    I thought fireworks were already illegal to possess or discharge in Seattle?

    Why not enforce existing laws? 

    Seems to me, enforcement should begin at the point of sale.

    From RCW 70.77 “In those states not covered by Public Law 280, the sale and discharge of fireworks on tribal lands is not governed by the state law. But, if the fireworks purchased on the reservation are prohibited by state law, they may not be possessed or discharged off of tribal lands. So, for example, in Washington State, tribal reservation stores may legally sell fireworks that are prohibited by state law, but the moment a purchaser takes the fireworks off the tribal lands, he is violating state law and may be cited.”  WTF….. 



  • Morgan Junction Neighbor June 28, 2016 (11:02 am)

    Howard, it’s not just the 4th of July.  I am so tired of hearing people say this every year.  It’s literally every night, multiple times and all hours of the night, from late June through the end of August.  I live near Morgan Junction and have already been awakened by loud explosions at least once each night for the last four nights.  Last night, there were fireworks at 11pm, 12:30am, and 2:00am…. on a week night… and it’s not even July.  As with years past, I imagine this is only the beginning of several months of noise all night and litter.  Per usual, when out of town in August I’ll leave the dog sitter with notes to not take the dog out between 8pm and 6am because you should be ready for explosions any time in that window on any day.  I love West Seattle but the fireworks situation is completely ridiculous and out of control and I wish that everyone would acknowledge that this is not “just a 4th of July” issue. 

  • AJP June 28, 2016 (1:33 pm)

    I think it’s partly due to fireworks being easy to obtain on the internet. A few years ago I went to Target in the evening of the 4th. Roxhill Park was full of people setting off fireworks. The booms were so loud in Target you could hear every one. The next day the park was covered in trash and parks employees were out working overtime to clean it up. I made a comment about it here, and people told me that’s what parks employees are paid for. 

    So we just leave town for three days now. But I feel awful for all the pets, babies, and veterans that can’t leave. People are so selfish. Football season too. 

  • anonyme June 28, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    How absolutely outrageous is it that more and more West Seattle residents are packing up and leaving town every Fourth of July because  police and council members refuse to do the jobs WE pay them for???  For many, many of us the 4th has become our most dreaded holiday.  Ridiculous.

  • Julie Chou July 5, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    Sorry, I don’t live in Seattle so this might not matter to some BUT I’m posting here to see if anyone knows a thing about what is the best place to live in WA that I will not have to deal with hearing fireworks?  I currently live in CA, which I HATE and our fireworks here are pathetic and ridiculously loud too with horrible neighbors! I’m planning on moving to WA, near Rochester but I heard there’s no law against fireworks there and it might be pretty bad too.  Does anyone have an idea of what cities are best in WA where I won’t hear fireworks all that often or at all?  I’ve taken into account searching some places near Spokane but I’m not a real fan of the dry and hot weather there compared to Seattle and Surrounding areas nearby.  Thanks!  If it’s easier to reach me, please do so at julie.chou at gmail.

    • Sam-c July 5, 2016 (8:24 pm)

      I don’t know that i would pick a place to live based on fireworks. It is only a few days a year. If it is really bad, go somewhere for a few days. Like, stay in a hotel in an urban location. It is worth it.  I Regret not doing it this year like we have in the past.

  • Bradley July 5, 2016 (5:25 pm)

    People were lighting-off fireworks right across the street from the SW Seattle Police Precinct for HOURS  on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th and are still doing it today. An SPD car DROVE AROUND the drunken yahoos setting-off fireworks in the middle of  our (Seattle) street last night. The ban has always been a ridiculous joke. The entire City looked like one big fireworks display from 9pm to 1am last night.

  • Sam-c July 5, 2016 (8:20 pm)

    These alerts mean nothing to people, especially when the police give you a heads up that they won’t respond.  I debate threatening the yahoos blowing up giant  fireworks/ explosions, and then maybe the police will respond to the 911 call… But then the problem is i’m the one who ends up in jail, not the jerk holes..  I think i’m going to pick random 5 am mornings throughout the year to park my car in front of their house and then set my car alarm off. 

Sorry, comment time is over.