After years of clamor for a fireworks ban in unincorporated King County – including White Center, just south of West Seattle – a deadly fire has finally ignited action.
As promised, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott – whose district includes West Seattle, White Center, and Vashon Island – is about to introduce legislation that would ban fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the county. See a summary below (or here in PDF):
See the full text of the legislation below (or here in PDF):
We talked this afternoon with Councilmember McDermott, who will officially get it into the system tomorrow.
McDermott notes that 25 jurisdictions within King County – including Seattle and Burien, which bookend White Center – already ban fireworks. And in addition to the deadly fire in North Highline, he’s heard from constituents with other concerns, including wildfire worries on Vashon Island.
Yes, he’s heard the concerns raised before – what does this really do if there’s no extra enforcement? “It sets a new norm,” McDermott contends, and use will be reduced. What about the organizations that have raised money through fireworks sales? They’re going to have to find a new, not potentially deadly way to raise money. McDermott says the fundraising-related concerns were a factor in a related bill that has died for the year in the State Legislature, 34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon‘s proposal to change state law so that fireworks bans could take effect faster. The stalling of that bill means that if McDermott’s proposal passes, it wouldn’t take effect until next year, so fireworks would still be legal in unincorporated King County this summer.
What are the chances it will pass? McDermott says he can count on support from at least a couple council colleagues, but he’s not taking anything/anyone for granted. If you have a strong opinion on the proposal, contact all the county councilmembers (here’s how). There also will be a committee hearing on the proposal, in the Local Services Committee chaired by Councilmember Reagan Dunn (no date for that yet).
P.S. Professional fireworks displays would still be allowed in unincorporated King County – as they are in the cities with fireworks bans – by permit.