How to Report Illegal Firework Displays

The easiest way to file a complaint about illegal fireworks being discharged in your neighborhood is to file an online complaint (Instructions for Filing Online Complaint). A description of the overall complaint process can be found here. The process works, for I tested it on a violator who chose to shoot illegal fireworks off despite the ban and they were sent a warning letter. If they choose to persist next year, despite it being illegal, it will be a fine.

To report violators of the unincorporated King County ban on illegal firework it is best to gather the evidence prior to submitting the report.* The best evidence is a video of the violator shooting off the fireworks along with the address and parcel number of the property. After taking a video of the violation and obtaining the address of offender go to the King County Parcel Viewer and enter the address to obtain the properties parcel number and property owner information (see instructions below). After gathering the video and/or pictures, address of the violator, and parcel information go to the online code enforcement reporting page. Select the “File a complaint online” button and you will be presented with a online form to fill for filing a complaint. This complaint can be filed anonymously and there is no need to register a user account. On the Code Enforcement page select the Enforcement menu item (if not visible use drop down “more” menu):

You can use Google Maps to locate the home address using the street view feature. Once you have obtained the violator’s address you can then go to the Parcel Viewer and enter the address and obtain the property parcel number and owner information. A good way to get familiar with using Google Maps and King County Parcel Viewer is to first use Google Maps to locate your own home and obtain the address and then to the Parcel Viewer and enter your address and obtain your parcel viewer and owner information for practice.

With the video evidence and/or pictures—which can be uploaded with complaint—and property parcel number, property owner’s information, and violator’s address you can then fill out the complaint form and monitor its progress via the code enforcement page.

* An effective way to gather evidence of illegal public firework displays in surrounding neighborhoods is to drive to the location where the fireworks are being discharged (one can easily see the mortars going off) with a video camera mounted in the window (or on foot using one’s phone) and document the illegal firework display and the address of the individual discharging the illegal fireworks. Then use Google Maps and the Parcel View to obtain the required information to file a code enforcement complaint online. Discrete body cameras are also an option. Do not verbally confront or engage with the individuals engaging in illegal activity to avoid potential conflict.

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Addendum: Some individuals on social media claim that discharging fireworks is their constitutional right and that banning fireworks is unconstitutional. This is pure misinformation and nonsense on stilts. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives individuals the right to discharge fireworks. As a simple matter of fact, the regulation of fireworks falls within the jurisdiction of state law and local county and city ordinances as determined by elected officials and/or referendums. Washington State Law (RCW 70.77.250(4), RCW 70.77.395) gives King County Council the authority to regulate fireworks (see Title 17 Fire Code Updated July 7, 2002, chapter 17.11) as authorized by the Washington State SENATE BILL 6080.

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