July 4 fireworks: Where to see professional displays, and what to know about reporting illegal use

Seattle police and other police departments are reminding folks that the use of personal fireworks is illegal in most local cities and towns this July 4 weekend, but officials also urge people not to call 911 if they encounter any in their neighborhood.

A new ban on the use of fireworks is in effect in unincorporated King County, which joins similar established firework bans in cities across the region. King County officials have said they only plan to issue warnings for violations of the new policy this year, and start issuing tickets in 2023.

Officials say that if the use of illegal fireworks results in a fire, injury or some other emergency, residents should call 911. But first responders are strongly urging folks to avoid calling the emergency line just to report the use of illegal fireworks, so that 911 remains available for emergency calls. 

Instead, Seattle residents can call the city’s nonemergency line at 206-625-5011. Callers may experience delays because of high volume and a shortage of available staff, warned Bill Schrier, the interim strategic adviser for Seattle’s Community Safety and Communications Center.

“This weekend especially … it’s going to be hit or miss whether we’ll be able to answer the nonemergency number or not,” he said. 

Residents of unincorporated King County can report online or by calling 206-848-0800. Bellevue also offers a way to report online, via the MyBellevue app or web portal. 

In Snohomish County, callers can report illegal fireworks by calling 425-407-3999 (Fireworks are illegal in unincorporated south Snohomish County, along with most incorporated cities).

According to the Washington state fire marshal’s office, fireworks caused 110 fires across the state last year. Fireworks in 2021 also caused 70 injuries, a decrease of 30% from the year prior. 

Professional fireworks displays are legal, however, and back this year after pandemic cancellations. There are plenty planned across the region for what may end up being a soggy summer holiday — including Seattle’s largest show on the shores of Lake Union that features a whopping 10,000 pounds of fireworks — so skip the explosives at this year’s cookout and bring a jacket instead. 

See below for a list of local professional fireworks displays. Please note this list is not exhaustive, and many community events also feature parades, festivals and other entertainment throughout the day Monday. Visit st.news/July42022 for an expanded list, and if you do not see your city here, check their website to see if they plan to host any July 4 events.

Seattle: Fireworks over Lake Union will start at 10:15 p.m. as part of the Seafair Summer Fourth event. Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park will offer several free and reserved seating options. seafair.org/events/2022/seafair-summer-fourth 

Arlington: A public fireworks display at Quake Park will begin at 10 p.m. 360-403-3421 or arlingtonwa.gov

Bellevue: The Bellevue Family 4th Celebration features the Eastside’s largest fireworks display synchronized to music performed by the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra at 10:05 p.m. Free. 10201 N.E. Fourth St., Bellevue; 425-453-1223; bellevuedowntown.com/events/family-4th

Everett: The Thunder on the Bay fireworks show begins at 10 p.m. Public parking will not be available at Legion Memorial Park on July 4. Everett Transit will offer free shuttles to and from the festival at Legion Park beginning at 3 p.m. from Everett Community College in front of the Walt Price Fitness Center. Free. 145 Alverson Blvd., Everett; 425-257-8700; everettwa.gov

Federal Way: The city of Federal Way Parks and Recreation presents the Red, White & Blues Festival featuring fireworks at 10:15 p.m. Free. 1095 S. 324th St., Federal Way; 253-835-2412; visitfw.org

Renton: Renton’s July 4 celebration features a DJ starting at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. Free. 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton; 425-430-6400; rentonwa.gov

Snoqualmie: Red, White & Boom, Snoqualmie’s annual community fireworks show, returns with vendors, food trucks, attractions and more at 7 p.m. Fireworks will begin at about 9:45 p.m. 35016 S.E. Ridge St., Snoqualmie; redwhiteboomwa.org

Tacoma: Fireworks return on the Ruston Way Waterfront with live music, food trucks, a craft market and more noon-10 p.m. at Cummings Park and the Cambia Legacy Lawn at Dune Peninsula. Free. Location varies; 253-305-1000; metroparkstacoma.org

Seattle Times features producer Vonnai Phair contributed to this report.

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