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Personal use of fireworks are banned in Seattle – find other ways to celebrate the 4th of July safely

SEATTLE – The personal use of fireworks in Seattle and King County is illegal. Even though they are banned, each year fireworks cause fires and injure people in the City and surrounding areas. In 2023, the Seattle Fire Department responded to 58 fireworks-related incidents. Just four years ago in 2020, a significant fire occurred in West Seattle where fireworks ignited dry brush in front of a four-story apartment building and quickly extended to the top floor balcony. Fortunately, no one was injured but several residents were displaced and the total estimated loss was $100,000.

Fire in West Seattle in 2020 caused by fireworks that resulted in $100,000 in damage. Photo credit: West Seattle Herald.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries. In 2023, Harborview Medical Center treated 58 patients for injuries caused by fireworks. Patient ages ranged from 10 months to 57 years old. Of those injured, 74% sustained injuries to the extremities, 40% sustained injuries to the eyes, face and head, 45% underwent amputation and 47% sustained burns. While 78% of those injured were outside of King County when the incident took place, we still saw injuries locally.

It’s best to keep the use of fireworks to professionals to avoid fires and injury; instead consider attending a public fireworks display such as the one held at the Space Needle. Additionally, the upcoming warm and dry weather significantly increases the risk for dry grass, bark and brush fires.

Here are ways to reduce fires caused by fireworks near your home:

  • Remove branches, dry grass and anything that can burn from around your home
  • Make sure tree branches are not touching your home
  • Clear roof and gutters of pine needles and leaves
  • Don’t leave cardboard or loose paper recyclables outside – make sure they are in a closed bin
  • Keep a garden hose with nozzle hooked up and ready to use

Make sure smoke alarms are working by pushing the test button. If you experience a fire, please call 911 immediately after you are in a safe location away from the fire.

On a historically busy day for first responders, please reserve the use of 911 only for life-threatening emergencies. Do not call 911 for the illegal discharge of fireworks, you can instead report to the City of Seattle non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

If you have unused fireworks, you can safely dispose of them at drop-off boxes located at each Seattle Police precinct. Have a safe and festive Independence Day!