Resident starts petition to ‘impose emergency ban on consumer fireworks’

A petition – targeted at the King County Fire Marshal and Executive Dow Constantine – has been started to “impose an emergency ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks for this Independence Day (July 4, 2015) in urban unincorporated North Highline and West Hill areas.”

The petition was started by Sonja Bowden, a resident of the unincorporated area of West Hill, who is also a friend and advocate of the North Highline community.

Here’s the language of the petition:

In the spirit of the freedom we celebrate on July 4th and the democracy it represents, those of us who are worried about our homes and properties in this unprecedented season of hot weather and drought wish to see incendiary devices, including fireworks, banned this year as an extension of the burn ban.

  1. Most of the fireworks used in these areas are not legal. Therefore, although charity stands will lose business, most of our fireworks are purchased on reservations.
  2. Our fireworks “season” lasts from the time devices go on sale (June 28) until at least two weeks after.
  3. King County Sheriff’s Office simply cannot enforce any of the rules, especially on the 4th, with the number of deputies serving these areas. Even in a “normal” year, both fire and law enforcement budgets are badly stressed by July 4th.
  4. On the 4th, the population in our unregulated fireworks zones grossly expands as outsiders flood in to detonate their devices.
  5. Fire Districts are limited to fire and medical response. They have no enforcement capabilities as related to fireworks.
  6. In addition to drought, we have a shortage of water.
  7. Roadsides are un-mowed due to budget cuts affecting King County Roads Maintenance.
  8. Bank-owned, foreclosed houses with overgrown grass are prime targets for fires that could jeopardize entire neighborhoods.
  9. Neighboring cities offer impressive professional shows for everyone’s enjoyment. Gene Coulon Park has quite a show:
  10. Public safety comes first. We want to be proactive about preventing a potential tragedy in an unprecedented year.

To read and/or sign the petition, click here.


3 Responses to “Resident starts petition to ‘impose emergency ban on consumer fireworks’”
  1. Linda Gray says:

    Added comment
    Also wanted to mention any claim there’s not enough law enforcement to enforce a ban is wrong. According to SC Fire District 1, they have experience where once a ban goes in it’s very easy to manage and calls/incidents go down dramatically. Since everything is banned neighbors can help police the ban too. Now it’s too hard to tell which fireworks are legal vs illegal.

    Dear Editor – glad to see there are others as concerned. The following is from an email I sent on June 18. Contacted the King 5, KOMO and Channel 13. No mention of the Governor’s authority. Per conversations with his office last week, he is taking comment, no decision. I asked how he can take comment when the public doesn’t know he has this authority? No real answer. Anyway the press has kept this under wraps. We only hear about resolutions that require a years wait, they can’t do anything, they can’t handle a ban, etc. No mention of going to the Governor.

    Please post this and contact Inslee now. I spoke with a person named Chris 360-902-4111) Thanks – Linda

    Dear Executive Lovick and County Council Members –

    Time is running out. I’ve contacted the Governor’s office twice this week about an immediate fireworks ban. I’ve also contacted our state representatives, SC Fire District 7 and Woodinville. I need your help..

    I attended SC Fire District 1’s Commissioner meeting Tuesday evening to support their resolution requesting the SC Council ban fireworks in unincorporated SC. However, I was told the resolution only includes District 1, not the entire County and is not enforceable until next year. Net, net the only person who can invoke an immediate ban is the Governor.

    2015 is horrific. We’re facing a combination of extreme fire danger and severe drought. The introduction of fireworks exponentially increases the probability of catastrophe for all residents. Additionally, July 4th falls on a Saturday for the first time in 6 years with the potential to be worse than the banner fireworks fire year of 2009.

    Please note, cities that ban fireworks aren’t necessarily safe. Most, like Woodinville are surrounded by unincorporated areas where fireworks are legal With 2015’s dry conditions we could face a firestorm instead of the 6 individual house fires in 2009. Residents of Oakland, California experienced this years ago and our weather is now like theirs. The state of Alaska announced a large ban for 2015 last night.

    Therefore, I am writing to request
    1.You contact Governor Inslee immediately and urge him to declare a state of Emergency under RCW 38.52 banning the sale/discharge of consumer fireworks statewide effective immediately and through the remainder of 2015 due to extreme fire danger. Public displays would still be OK

    Background documentation :
    • “EVERETT, Wash. — Commissioners in Snohomish County’s largest fire district are pushing to ban fireworks on the Fourth of July, after a decade of complaints and fireworks-related fires”…”It’s real for us,” said Robert Eastman, District 1 Assistant Fire Chief. “The increase of calls, the fire loss is real. We don’t want to lose a home to something that’s preventable.”

    • “This year (2015), we have ominous predictions for a hot, dry summer,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. …”Last year, more than 315,000 acres of DNR-protected lands were consumed by about 900 wildfires, in the state’s worst ever fire season…. 75 percent of the fires were human-caused. ”

    • “…there were 432 fireworks-related injuries and fires (155 in Washington in 2014. That represents a 27 percent increase in incidents over the previous year…This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday for the first time in six years…It’s possible the timing of the holiday plays a big role, since more people are likely to “go big” when the holiday falls on a weekend…That Saturday in 2009 was a banner year for fireworks-related fires, with 1,049 documented incidents — more than twice the number of fires in either 2008 or 2010. Those fires included six residential fires and one wild land fire, and caused an estimated $5,641,290 in damage.”

    Thank you for your consideration. Please get back to me with any questions and your next steps..

    Sincerely, Linda

  2. TOM says:

    I used to really love the 4th of July. Now that I live in this area, fire works start long before the 4th at all times of the day and night. there is alot of poverty in my area. Where do they get all their money to purchase all these fireworks. We need to put a stop to these illegal fire works and start fining these people. If they want to see fire works go to a professional display. I am tired of water my yard and spraying my roof for fear of a fire.
    In Burien this year there was already one fatality related death.

  3. Audrey says:

    Tom and Jimmy made very good valid assessments. I have lived here since 1990 and it is getting out of control with the loud explosions even before July 4.

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