Fire District 1 calls for fireworks ban in unincorporated Snohomish County

Fire District 1 Chief Ed Widdis

The cities of Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds have banned the private use of fireworks for years; the Lynnwood City Council voted to ban the discharge of fireworks there beginning in 2015. Now Snohomish County Fire District 1 wants to see a ban put into place in all unincorporated areas of South Snohomish County.

The Snohomish County Fire District 1 Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling for the county government to ban the sale and discharge of fireworks in unincorporated areas. Currently the discharge of fireworks is legal only on July 4 in unincorporated portions of the Fire District’s service area.

Fire District 1 Board Chair David Chan and Assistant Fire Chief Brad Reading will be voicing its support for a fireworks ban during public comments at the Snohomish County Council meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m., Henry M. Jackson Board Room, 8th Floor, Drewel Administration Building East.

Since 2005, fireworks have been responsible for a total of more than $3.25 million in property loss in Fire District 1, displacing 15 households from homes and apartments. “This is unacceptable. Every year we have citizens tells us they’re afraid to leave their homes on July 4 because of all the fireworks going off in their neighborhoods. A ban will restore their sense of security, reduce injuries and cut property losses,” said Chan.

Chan noted the district supports a ban that would apply only to private fireworks use, and would still allow for professional displays. “Those who think it wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks could attend a public display put on by trained professionals,” he said. “That’s the safest way to enjoy fireworks.”

Fire District 1 is encouraging other fire districts in the county to pass similar resolutions asking the Snohomish County Council to ban all fireworks except professional displays.

Banning fireworks can be an effective method for reducing fireworks injuries and property loss, said Fire Chief Ed Widdis. “Bans in Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds have been effective in reducing our call volumes, property loss and injuries.”Typically, Fire District 1’s call load in the unincorporated area more than doubles on July 4.

To help handle the heavy volume of fireworks-related 9-1-1 calls expected on the holiday, two additional engine companies will be in service on July 4. “This will supplement the around-the-clock staffing we regularly provide at 12 fire stations in south Snohomish County,” Widdis said.

The City of Mountlake Terrace released a list of suggestions to help residents and visitors celebrate safely and legally:

  • Comply with the City’s fireworks ban. The sale, possession and discharge of all fireworks are prohibited within Mountlake Terrace city limits. Violations will result in confiscation of fireworks and fines.
  • Report fireworks violations. It is recommended that citizens call 911 when there is an emergency situation such as a fire or injury. Call 911 if violations of the fireworks ban are observed.
  • Keep pets safe. Fireworks can upset pets. Keep pets inside.
  • Attend a public fireworks display. There are public displays planned for July 4 in Edmonds, Everett, Kenmore and Seattle.

Other western Washington cities that ban fireworks include Bellevue, Burien, Carnation, Des Moines, Everett, Federal Way, Gold Bar, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila, and Woodway.

Fire District 1 serves nearly 200,000 residents in unincorporated south Snohomish County, Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.

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15 Comments

  1. I used to love private fireworks until an off duty Seattle Police officer lost an eye from a pop bottle rocket at the 4th of Jul-IVARS some years back Ruined the tradition for me. Question, how will the ban be enforced??? Neighbors a block away have been using illegal fireworks for years, not limited to the 4th AND New Years eve.

  2. Hurray for Lynnwood finally banning private fireworks. After having two fires at our house, thanks to illegal fireworks, the ban is very welcome. I thank the new city council members and the mayor because the “good old boys club” previously in office did absolutely nothing.

  3. We had our lawn catch fire one year while we were at the display (as recommended.. not happening again) and another year a tree a few feet from the house was the victim in a bottle rocket. Fireworks were banned where we lived and it didn’t make any difference. They need to not just ban them, but enforce it, with zero tolerance because getting a warning once a year isn’t going to do anything but maybe make them laugh at the word “enforcement.”

  4. I find it odd that how many fatalities are a direct result of alcohol use on the fourth and yet we do not ban alcohol on the fourth but we are going to ban fireworks the one day of the year.

  5. I am thrilled with this decision.It makes no sense to me to have this. It is dangerous and just creates more tax dollars. I would like to know how we can get unincorp. Snohomish on this list? The stands of Boom City are ridiculous and need to be forbidden.What can we do to enforce this? nanc

    • I don’t see how the stands are ridiculous? those provide income and college funds for hundreds of Indians during this time of year, and you honestly don’t think those stands generate income? Tribal stands generate tens of thousands of dollars in income for the tribes, and for each tribal stand there is probably 3 state stands generating income for the county they are in, and it is a LOT of money. Please dial down the ignorance and fear and instead focus on proper education.

  6. Fireworks are not dangerous by themselves, properly used by responsible parties there would not be any issue. I attend and shoot several large shows each and every year and we have never burned down any buildings or left behind any damage (other than some confetti bits of paper!)

    To all you people who are so pro-banning fireworks, how about you vote to ban stupidity? because those people who are lighting your lawns on fire will do it regardless of the law, and you will deprive many responsible people the joy of lighting fireworks and celebrating with their families. I would suffer to bet that 99% of so-called “fireworks related injuries” also include the use of alcohol, illegal items, or fireworks not handled in a proper manner

    Proper education and caution is a must when handling fireworks, but there is NO reason why fireworks cannot be handled and used in a safe and fun manner

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to drop a comment.

  7. This isn’t stopping people from using fireworks. The ones from boom city have always been illegal to take off the reservation, but that stops no one.I personally hate fireworks, but let responsible families have some fun on the Fourth.

    • That is actually untrue… Boom City sells fireworks that are exactly the same as the ones you will find in any stand across the state, unless your area has laws denoting the sale of only “Safe n Sane”

      The only fireworks that are illegal to take off the reservation are firecrackers and rockets.

  8. Thank you, Jon Salzman, the sole voice of reason here. I am more than a little fed up with the public’s increasing obsession with safety and looking to the government for every bloody thing they need or want. There are many true, red-blooded Americans you enjoy celebrating our heritage of liberty and freedom – and won’t stop for some lame law created by lame law-makers.

    Fire District 1 – grow a spine, you might find you can stand upright. And I will be even happier to say that face to face.

  9. I would support the ban if I knew it would stop neighbors from shooting off the non safe and sane fireworks (i.e. the ones that turn the neighborhood into a war zone). I would love to get through a July 4th without hearing about anyone getting injured or any property being damaged.

  10. I hate the 4th of July and leave each year to somewhere where there are no neighborhood fireworks. If the bombs going off all night aren’t bad enough, the TOXIC smoke hangs thick in the air all night and opening windows when it’s 85 in my bedroom is not an option. I just don’t get the fascination, and how many people even give a thought to the real reason for the holiday? They just want to blow things up. Plus, having to sedate my dog because of it is ridiculous.

    • Referring to fireworks as bombs is ignorance, is there loud bangs and booms? Yes! Are they bombs? Absolutely NOT. The “Toxic” smoke is the same smoke from anything burning, and if you ask me smells a whole lot better than people smoldering burn piles, wood stoves, charcoal grills, fireplaces, and any number of smoke sources that run constantly during the cold winter months. As far as your dog, sorry that the dog has such a rough time with it, it must be tough having to give him a single pill to relax him. Most people don’t “Just want to blow things up” Most people are there to watch something fascinatingly beautiful that they only get a chance to see a handful of times a year. I am sorry you cannot see the beauty in it.

  11. I know the difference between fireworks and bombs, having 2 boys. Our neighbors set off M-80′s and bigger starting several days before the 4th and there have been several fires due to bottle rockets. Sorry, but no ignorance here, I have done my homework and as far as the toxic smoke, it appears that you are the ignorant one. Smoke from fireworks contains lead and other heavy metals in particles so minute they can be inhaled deep into the lungs and are dangerous for many. Just google it. And you misunderstood me about sedating my dog. It is not the act of giving him a pill that is ridiculous but the mere fact that it must be done. Oh and as far as beauty goes, explosions are not beautiful, give me a woodland stream, with wildlife and the sound of birds around me, that’s beauty.

    • M-80s “and bigger” aren’t fireworks, they are explosive devices made and sold 100% illegally, they are not even allowed for sale by indian reservations. (the fact that they are sometimes found for sale there “under the table” does not make it legal) Lumping them in with Fireworks that are bought and used by the general public is like saying a bolt action .22 is an assault rifle.

      The Toxic Smoke thing is a scare tactic by the department of ecology, using words like “may contain” and “could contain”, are there minute particles? could be, they seem to have no actual published results or scientific proof, just a random test done by a random person with who knows what for conditions.

      There is a massive difference between a firework effect and an explosion…. to continue to simply refer to all fireworks as explosions just shows a complete bias against fireworks.

      Again, its a bummer that your dog is so sensitive to the noise, I don’t know how so many people have trained dogs to be OK with the noise of shotguns (as bird dogs) but there are ways to desensitize your dog to loud noises. Most pets have no problem with the noise, or get used to it pretty quickly.

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