With the 4th approaching, remember – fireworks are illegal in Burien

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With the July 4th holiday fast approaching, the City of Burien wants to remind residents that the sale, possession or discharge of any fireworks is prohibited.

“Violators can be fined $1,000 and sentenced to up to 90 days in jail,” according to the city’s website.

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 10 p.m.), 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

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20 Responses to “With the 4th approaching, remember – fireworks are illegal in Burien”
  1. Woman0405 says:

    they were illegal last year & the year before & the year before that, but yet, my neighbors were still blowing off fireworks for up to a week straight until 2/3am in the morning. fyi – city of burien, signs don’t deter owning, selling, displaying fireworks (w/out a permit).

  2. Keith says:

    What is the point of reminding us of this? Its not as if the cops will actually do anything about people breaking the law like this.

  3. VERY TIRED says:

    This is one example of tyranny.

    With freedom comes responsibility. If the city government wants to make laws it cannot possibly enforce, then to Hell with them.

  4. Deezer says:

    Fireworks used responsibly are part of our freedom as Americans and I plan on lighting some off. Nothing illegal, just the safe and sane. I have never had an injury or fire. I don’t think the cops have enough time to go house to house to put a damper on everyone’s Fourth, so get over it Woman0405 boo hoo hoo. It’s only once a year and I’m sure your fingers are just down to the bone from calling 911 all night.

  5. Danthedog says:

    Its a joke again, Blow them off nothing will be done Happy 4th of July

  6. Sir Issac says:

    God forbid us from celebrating a national holiday!? Put your ear plugs in and go to bed, party poopers!

  7. They keep telling us how free we are living in this great nation yet those very freedoms we are supposed to be celebrating keep being whittled away. Fireworks have been part of my 4th of July celebrations for as long as I can remember and a 4th of July without fireworks is no 4th of July at all. It’s like telling a Christian that they can go to church but can’t read the bible. Fireworks are a fundamental part of and a symbol of the freedom that our nation represents. The act of making this basic freedom illegal is un-American and just another example of trying to make us a bunch of sheep.

    So glad I live in unincorporated King County and many thanks to the generous donation of fireworks by a Burien citizen to my neighborhoods celebration.

  8. TcB says:

    Enjoy it while you can.
    I was talking to a West Seattle resident the other day about White Center and annexation. He said “first, they have to close down all those trashy businesses along 16th and then we’ll absorb them but not until they do”
    When I said that the residents might not like to be absorbed he said “they don’t have a choice”

    It’s coming people.

    • TbC says:

      Chicken Little speaks!!

    • That’s what they said last time and here we are, still able to celebrate our nations birthday.

    • Mike says:

      tcb, Martin and his band of nitwits couldn’t tell enough lies to get us to believe how great Burien is, why would anyone from west Seattle think they could come in here and tell us what we will be closing? We chose to stay unincorporated last time and if they come with “you’ll do this and you’ll do that” it will be the same result: u n i n c o r p o r a t e d .

      It’s not coming people

  9. Tricia says:

    It’s a total joke that fireworks are illegal in Burien since they don’t ever enforce the law. Might as well make them legal on July 4th cause most people fire them off anyway. It’s like a war zone in Gregory Heights on the 4th and since we are close to Normandy Park where they are legal – extra assurance that the police won’t intervene. Just wish our neighbors had a bit better aim – remnants of a large bottle rocket landed on our roof about an hour ago. But hey, that’s what hoses are for!

  10. jimmy says:

    I think it’s kinda hard for the cops to prove who was lighting the fuse when a nighbor calls in a ticket might get drop in court if there is only one witness unless if you have pictures or video to prove who did it also it seems the law to make fireworks illegal is more of a just in case if someone setting off fireworks and they happen start a fire or causes physicle damage to some eles property then they can press charges also some fireworks you never know where there going to land like bottle rockets if the stick is a little bow then it might curve to the side when it is flying in the air so if you do light fireworks any where make sure to be safe keep at least a bucket of water if a hose is not available

  11. Lynne says:

    Had a nice relaxing 4th of July…..NOT..spent most of it on my deck anxiously watching burning Chinese lanterns lit on Cresent Beach fly up the hill towards my home..watched several hang up in trees then burn out, one hit the empty home above my house and many more remained lit and headed towards the Hillcrest Road area. Come on people, you knew they were heading up hill towards tall trees and homes on the hill yet you continued to light them until 1130pm? How would you like to watch a burning object float towards your home? Not going to be nice next year. Ive had it.

  12. Shari says:

    This is an interesting take on the issue of present-day fireworks and civic celebrations on the 4th.


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