With The 4th Approaching, Remember: Fireworks Are Illegal In Burien

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The 4th of July is less than a week away, and we’d like to remind our Readers that the setting off of fireworks is prohibited in the city of Burien.

While public displays that you may see for free at Lake Burien or Three Tree Point are licensed and legal (both of which start around 10pm), setting off your own firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and other combustibles is strictly illegal.

No matter where  you buy your fireworks – at an Indian reservation or local fireworks stand – if you set them off in Burien you’re running the risk of getting a ticket.

According to the city’s municipal code, doing so may result in a Class 2 civil infraction with a fine of $125.00, plus “applicable statutory assessments.”

Speaking of code, here’s the city’s exact wording on BMC 5.30 (link to entire database here):

5.30.020 Sale of fireworks unlawful.
It is unlawful for any person to offer for retail sale or sell any fireworks within the city. [Ord. 490 § 1, 2008; Ord. 267 § 4, 1999]

5.30.030 Permit required for public display of fireworks.
It is unlawful for any person to hold, conduct or engage in any public display of fireworks within the city without first having obtained and being the holder of a valid permit under the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 267 § 5, 1999]

5.30.040 Discharge of fireworks prohibited.
Except as authorized by a state license and city permit granted by the local fire official pursuant to RCW 70.77.260(2) (public display) or RCW 70.77.311(2) (use by individual or group for religious or other specified purpose on approved date and at approved location), no person shall ignite, explode or discharge any fireworks within the city. [Ord. 490 § 2, 2008; Ord. 267 § 6, 1999]

5.30.045 Possession of fireworks unlawful.
Except as authorized by a state license and city permit granted by the local fire official pursuant to RCW 70.77.260(2) (public display) or RCW 70.77.311(2) (use by individual or group for religious or other specified purpose on approved date and at approved location), it shall be unlawful for any person to control or possess any fireworks within the city. [Ord. 491 § 1, 2008]

5.30.050 Permit fee.
The annual fee for a “public display” permit for the public display of fireworks shall be $100.00, and shall be payable to King County Fire Protection District No. 2 or the North Highline Fire District, as appropriate. [Ord. 267 § 7, 1999]

5.30.060 Issuance – Nontransferable – Voiding.
Each public display permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be valid only for the specific authorized public display event, shall be used only by the designated permittee, and shall be nontransferable. Any transfer or unauthorized use of a permit is a violation of this chapter and shall void the permit in addition to all other sanctions provided in this code. [Ord. 267 § 8, 1999]

5.30.070 Application for public display permit.
Applications for a permit to hold, conduct or operate a public display of fireworks shall be made to King County Fire Protection District No. 2 or North Highline Fire District, as appropriate, at least 14 days prior to the scheduled event. Applicants shall meet all qualifications and requirements of state law regarding public display of fireworks and all fire and safety requirements in the standards for public display set forth below. [Ord. 267 § 9, 1999]

5.30.080 Standards for public fireworks displays.
All public fireworks displays shall conform to the following minimum standards and conditions:
(1) All public fireworks displays must be planned, organized and discharged by a state-licensed pyrotechnician;
(2) A permit must be obtained from the fire chief or designee prior to any display of public fireworks. The permit shall include the name of the applicant and his address; the name of the pyrotechnician and his address; the exact location, date and time of the proposed display; the number, type and class of fireworks to be displayed; the manner in which the fireworks are being stored prior to the public fireworks display; and shall include the name and address of the insurance company providing the bond required;
(3) A drawing shall be submitted to the fire chief or designee showing a plan view of the fireworks discharge site and the surrounding area within a 500-foot radius. The drawing shall include all structures, fences, barricades, streets, fields, streams and any other significant factors that may be subjected to ignition or that may inhibit firefighting capabilities;
(4) The fire chief or designee may require that a fire department pumper and a minimum of two trained firefighters shall be on site 30 minutes prior to and after the discharge of any fireworks;
(5) All combustible debris and trash shall be removed from the area of discharge for a distance of 300 feet in all directions;
(6) All unfired or undischarged fireworks shall be disposed of in a safe manner;
(7) A minimum of two 2A-rated pressurized water fire extinguishers and one fire blanket shall be required to be at the fireworks discharge site;
(8) The permit may be immediately revoked at any time deemed necessary by the fire marshal or designee due to any noncompliance, or weather conditions such as extremely low humidity or wind factor. The display may also be canceled by accidental ignition of any form of combustible or flammable material in the vicinity due to falling debris from the display; and
(9) Areas of public access shall be determined by the fire chief or designee and maintained in an approved manner. [Ord. 267 § 10, 1999]

5.30.090 Applicability.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the sale and use of all fireworks except “toy caps,” and as is otherwise exempt pursuant to RCW 70.77.311 as now stated or as may be amended. [Ord. 267 § 11, 1999]

5.30.100 Chapter in connection with state law.
This chapter is intended to implement Chapter 70.77 RCW, and shall be construed in connection with that law and any and all rules or regulations issued pursuant thereto. [Ord. 267 § 12, 1999]

5.30.110 Enforcement.
The fire chief, or designee, is authorized to enforce all provisions of this chapter and, in addition to criminal sanctions or civil remedies, he may revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter upon any failure or refusal of the permittee to comply with the orders and directives of the fire chief or designee, and/or to comply with any provisions of this chapter or other laws or regulations. [Ord. 267 § 13, 1999]

5.30.120 Penalty for violations.
(1) “Civil infraction” has the meaning given that term by Chapter 7.80 RCW, as now or hereafter amended, and the Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (“IRLJ”) and any local rule adopted thereto by the King County district court, as they may be now or hereafter amended.
(2) Except as provided below, any person violating or failing to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to 90 days or imposition of a fine of up to $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) A violation of BMC 5.30.040 (Discharge of fireworks prohibited) shall be a Class 2 civil infraction and, upon a finding that a violation has been committed, the person committing such act shall be assessed an amount not to exceed $125.00, plus applicable statutory assessments. Such penalty is in addition to any other remedies or penalties specifically provided by law. For each act herein prohibited of a continuing nature, each day shall be considered a separate offense.
(4) A violation of BMC 5.30.045 (Possession of fireworks unlawful) shall be a Class 2 civil infraction and, upon a finding that a violation has been committed, the person committing such act shall be assessed an amount not to exceed $125.00, plus applicable statutory assessments. Such penalty is in addition to any other remedies or penalties specifically provided by law. For each act herein prohibited of a continuing nature, each day shall be considered a separate offense. [Ord. 491 § 2, 2008]

King County has compiled a table of area cities and their fireworks regulations:

Auburn4th of July only
Des MoinesBanned
Federal WayBanned
Kent4th of July only
Normandy ParkJune 28 to July 4

In unincorporated King County (ie: the White Center area):

  • Fireworks may be discharged only on July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight.
  • Fireworks sales are legal beginning at noon on June 28 until 11 p.m. and then daily between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. through July 4. No sales can occur after July 4.
  • To purchase fireworks you must be at least 16 years of age with picture identification.
  • Fireworks permit: Application for temporary stand / tent form available in fill-in Word (63KB) or PDF (29KB) format.

Here are some Fireworks safety tips from the county:

  • Use only approved, legal, and common fireworks from reliable Washington State and King County Fire Marshal licensed retailers.
  • Always have a responsible adult light all fireworks.
  • Have a charged garden hose or a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Use fireworks under outdoor conditions only, away from buildings, houses with wood shingles, trees, and dry fields.
  • Avoid aerial type fireworks.
  • Light one item at a time, move away quickly, and keep a safe distance away.
  • Dispose of used fireworks by first soaking them in water.
  • Ensure the safety of pets (see tips for keeping pets safe) –>.
  • Use eye protection.
  • Remember your neighbors and clean up all debris.
  • If a device does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least a minimum of five minutes before approaching the device.
  • Remember, if it has a stick or fins and it goes up or if it blows up, it is illegal in Washington State.
  • Rather than buying fireworks, attend a public fireworks display when available and make that a family tradition.

Here’s video from last year’s LEGAL barge-launched fireworks display at Three Tree Point:


Here are some videos of some apparently-ILLEGAL fireworks launched by residents at Lake Burien:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj6xd9RxE24 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8GA9h4t8kY

What do YOU think about fireworks being illegal in Burien? Please take our Poll or leave a Comment below…

Do you set off illegal fireworks in Burien?

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25 Responses to “With The 4th Approaching, Remember: Fireworks Are Illegal In Burien”
  1. Lisa says:

    Now that is one revenue source I won’t begrudge the city. In fact, I’ll help out – okay, police, be at Hazel Valley between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., write some tickets and get some serious cred for boosting the city coffers!

    • Rainycity says:

      Of course you will help out Lisa, sometimes people forget what it was like when they were kids. Myself, I enjoy looking around seeing the fireworks going off all over the place as well as I enjoy lighting them. After all it IS tradition.
      Just another set back to being annexed by a bunch of …..well, I best not say it here,,*lol*.
      But we will still have our gathering of friends,neighbors, family and oh,, fireworks for a day of horseshoes, badmitten, croquet,good food and good people, well, maybe not good people anymore, I guess they`ll be a bunch of lawbreakers,,*heh-heh*.
      But I still think they are good people.

      • Keith says:

        I am all for remembering what it is like to be a kid…but honestly I really don’t like that I am forced to stay home to make sure none of my inconsiderate neighbors burn my house down on the 4th and then have to pick up all the debris out of my yard the next day.

        • Rainycity says:

          Well, there you go, ya might as well make the best of it then and light off off some fireworks beings how you`re stuck there anyways.. *lol*

          • Keith says:

            No thanks Rainycity.

            How about you tell us where you live and we shoot all our fireworks into your house and see how you like it.

            You want to see fireworks? Go anywhere in this area where safe and legal installations are going off.

            Don’t set off fireworks in our dense tree filled neighborhoods.

      • Howie says:

        So, Rainycity, are you talking about traditions like the stray fireworks that burned down the old school on 128th and Des Moines Memorial Drive a couple years ago? Or the tradition that resulted in a wayward bottle rocket landing in my wife’s dinner plate during our holiday cookout? Or the one where a neighbor’s fireworks set one of my trees on fire?

        Are you talking about those kind of traditions, in which inconsiderate louts launch flaming, explosive sticks across densely populated suburban neighborhoods?

        I hope the cops have extra staff on this weekend and actually enforce the rules. The biggest problem with all of this seems twofold: 1, the state allows fireworks stands to operate, despite the fact that the use of fireworks is illegal in many municipalities, and, 2, the cops are apparently spread so thin that I’ve never once seen any enforcement action in my part of town (east of SR509).

        The Fourth of July is the busiest year for fire departments across the country; there are tens of millions of dollars of damages and thousands of injuries caused every year during that holiday weekend. I’m not just pulling these numbers out of the air; for reference, here are the real numbers:


        In case you don’t care to click the link, here’s the digest version:

        • In 2008, fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 20,600 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated one civilian death, 40 civilian injuries and $42 million in direct property damage.

        • In 2008, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 7,000 people for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2008 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 37% were to the head.

        • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for teens ages 15-19 and children 5-9, both with at least two-and-a-half times the risk for the general population.

        • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

        This is not about politics, or traditions, or patriotism, it’s simply about my not wanting some dimwit to burn down yet another home or randomly injure someone blocks away in the name of tradition” because they don’t seem to understand that it’s neither smart nor polite to launch flaming projectiles at other people’s homes.

        • Dwayne says:

          Your welcome to come see my fireworks. I never asked to be part of this shit hole, money grubbing city anyways! I’ll gladly pay the ticket(s) for the Burien city slush fund. GO BOOM 🙂

        • Colleen says:

          Jesus Howie,
          I guess you’d better stand guard all night with your hose in your hand shouting, “DAMN KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!” Get a grip. I have lived on a street that turns into a war zone on the 4th for the last 20 years and there has never been a fire. AND i was right there with them lighting them off. We all watch out to be safe and responsible.

          Hate to break the news to you but the cops are going to have their hands full trying to put out all the sparklers lit by those of us who were annexed. I doubt it’s going to make much of a difference. Maybe you can volunteer and bring your watering can??

          GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. It’s a tradition. But keep your hose in your hand!!

    • Colleen says:

      Yes, let’s ban all our traditions! We need the government to take a hard line with all of us to make sure we don’t hurt ourselves. Thank goodness I was annexed because before that I lit off fireworks with the rest of my neighbors for 20 years and we cleaned up and were safe but by golly, I could have hurt myself and got an owie!

      I love fireworks and will be letting them off. And I won’t be pointing them at anyone’s home.

      BOOM! I’m with Raincity.

  2. Dale says:

    “This Perfect Day” by Ira Levin, 1970

    Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei
    Led us to this perfect day.
    Marx, Wood, Wei, and Christ;
    All but Wei were sacrificed.
    Wood, Wei, Christ and Marx
    Gave us lovely schools and parks.
    Wei, Christ, Marx, and Wood
    Made us humble, made us good.


  3. unclewoo says:

    Fire danger, injuries, insurance claims, noise, pets traumatized, drunks with explosives, tradition? Forget it, go view a professional display. This is one tradition I will pass on.

  4. Robin says:

    RainyCity, I usually like your ‘good ole days’ rhetoric, but disagree on this one. Just last year a family lost their home (I think in Kent? Renton?) because their neighbors were setting off fireworks and no one would own up to it. High risk for very little reward (ooohh! Shiny! Noisy! Burning!). It’s not as serious, but akin to DUI; endangering others for your good time, especially in a congested area.

    Hosing off one’s roof all night and picking up the debris the next day is more than annoying. I’ll quickly call in any violators. Glad to be a fuddy-duddy on this one.

    Hope you enjoy your holiday anyway.

    • Rainycity says:

      Its all good Robin, shoot, everybody can`t agree on everything,(which is why there`s a town council I guess),,heh-heh
      But the world would be a pretty darn boring place.
      Even my kids and the war maid don`t agree on everything with me or anybody else in the household ,, (Sure would make life easier but not near as fun I `spose.)
      But you guys are right, there is always going to be some irresponsible people out there no matter what you do which is I guess why they have use under adult supervision on them,, That was really reaching wasn`t it,,*sheesh.
      And Keith, nothing doing,, I have a feeling you just want to send the cops out my way. heheheh. And if you intentionally shot one into my house, well, that would really piss me off and I`m sure my wife, kids and neighbors will tell you,, I don`t get pissed often
      or easily, but when I do, I`m not a very nice person and I make the best of that emotion,
      no sense in letting it go to waste.
      But enough said on this subject for me,, peace out.

      • Keith says:

        So as long as its not in your house you don’t care but you don’t give a crap if its someone else’s property that gets damaged by inconsiderate people? Good to know.

        And I have no desire to send the cops to your house for nothing. I would rather they were out doing their important jobs than wasting their time on ignorant people like you.

        • Rainycity says:

          Who said anything like that Keith except you? You are the inconsiderate knucklehead who talked about shooting fireworks into my house, not me into yours or anyboby else`s, I wouldn`t do that or ever allow it.,,matter of fact, I wouldn`t even mention anything like that, unlike some dumbass ,, sheesh, nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who can`t comprehend what they read,,or even wrote themselves for that matter, go back to school bro..
          In case you are wondering,,the term ignorant doesn`t apply here, I could tell you what it means but you probably couldn`t comprehend it,, best you have someone tell you in person.
          I`m done on this subject. Peace out.

          • Keith says:

            My point was that you seem to be A.O.K. with people using fireworks in the city. I called you ignorant because it is obvious you are ignorant of the law in place if you feel this is ok to happen. The fact you can’t comprehend what I am referring to just adds to the fact of your shortsightedness that you often proclaim on this blog.

            My line about launching fireworks into your house wasn’t meant specifically to be “inside” your house but rather out the outside and your yard as to what happens every year in my neighborhood by the inconsiderate ignorant people.

  5. Burien Parks says:

    Note: Discharging fireworks in a city park is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum fine for discharging fireworks in a city park is $1,000.
    BMC 7.30.320 Fireworks.
    No person shall possess, discharge, or cause to be discharged, in any park area or parks department facility, any firecracker, torpedo, rocket, firework, explosive, or similar device unless so authorized by the city.
    BMC 7.40.020 Criminal violation.
    Any person who violates BMC 7.30.230, 7.30.240 or 7.30.320 is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for no more than 90 days or to both such fine and imprisonment.

    • Lisa says:

      I’d be interested to know exactly how many tickets get issued on the 4th, because I suspect that not even one will be written. It’s the 3rd and something dreadful from Boom City just exploded at Hazel Valley and shook the ground. No one’s going to do anything. Enjoy the 4th, rude neighbors, hate you.

  6. Coverofnight says:

    For the last decade, every Fourth of July sounds like we live in a war zone. But I’ve yet to see any cops out patrolling looking for fireworks violators. You would think that with the seriousness of these explosives, the City would REALLY crack down on this…..but no, they put more priority on making sure you don’t run that red light!

  7. gg says:

    didn’t a little girl lose her life at Lora Lakes back in the early 90’s when a bottle rocket landed on the roof and burned the apartment building?

  8. Betsy says:

    Gasworks park is having fireworks– go there!!

  9. love fireworks says:

    I love celebrating our country’s birthday. I grew up with a tradition of having a large bbq with family and friends and when night fell we would gather all our fireworks and put on a show for everyone. We would clean up our mess and respected our neighbors. Fourth of July comes once a year and it is a shame fireworks is banned in Burien. It is one more item of our tradition that are being banned one after another. I call for people to get a referendum so we can get this un-american law banned. Who is the city of Burien to tell me what I can do on my own private property. I want you people to think about that statement for a minute and I want you to really concentrate hard!!

    Love Fireworks and time to unban the nanny laws now!!

  10. GiNa says:

    I think that we should be allowed to light off fireworks. Afterall, people sped hundreds of dollars on them. Maybe the parks should be supervised and maintained somehow but not completely banned. Monitoring the parks will help a great deal…. now we have tons of people with fireworks who are gonna be bunched up in very few places which by the way I think will make it worse for us. People fighting over space, etc. So stupid. The park I’ve been going to the past few years there was always lil old people who would come n watch OUR fireworks show… now they have to commute to see any instead of just walking around the corner. Wt*eff* lol. People keep taking things away, when is there gonna be any fun? Raise taxes, ban fireworks. Ugh.

    • Rainycity says:

      Well, I said earlier that I was done with this thread but one more I guess.
      Light them anyways,, I`m going to and I`m sure a lot of us still are,, I did notice it has been down a little from years past but not a lot. I`m sure my buddy Dwayne is going to and my neighbor Colleen is also, as are we.
      Where abouts are ya Dwayne,, shoot, I have a shit pot full of them as well as a few folks that will be over and around. and a pretty dang good place to light em,,
      Right by my good friend Keiths house,,*lol*

  11. Bill says:

    I bought and set off a ton of stuff this year, in Burien. I saw the cops drive by twice, and they did nothing. Last year one of them just said, “Have a safe time, don’t do anything stupid”
    The cops don’t care so long as you aren’t burning anything down or blowing anything up.
    So, whatever, Burien. I’ll just keep giving my money to boom city, and a few bucks to the Normandy Park stand in the QFC parking lot.
    And I’ll keep celebrating the fourth safely, and the cops and the city can’t do and won’t do nything about it. 😉

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