After being reviewed three times by the City of North Bend’s Public Health and Safety committee, city council members approved an ordinance amending the City’s Fireworks Code, NBMC 8.20.010, in a 4-3 vote on December 6th, 2022.
City Administrator, David Miller, presented the ordinance before the Council voted, which will ban the personal use of aerial fireworks within North Bend city limits, removing “special fireworks” from the definition of those authorized for sale, use, discharge, and possession within the city.
Effective in 2023, the City of North Bend will join a growing number of jurisdictions banning the use of aerial fireworks, including King County, Snoqualmie, and Kirkland. Only three cities in King County appear to allow these fireworks, with special rules, including Carnation, Mercer Island and Covington.
To provide law enforcement consistency for Snoqualmie-North Bend Police, the ordinance is modeled closely after the City of Snoqualmie’s 2016 fireworks ordinance. View the City of North Bend’s ordinance by referring to pages 327 to 331 of the Council Packet HERE.
At the sparsely attended council meeting, Councilmembers shared a wide range of viewpoints on the topic of fireworks, recognizing their use as a valued tradition for many and acknowledging the danger fireworks pose to people, animals, homes and businesses, and surrounding forests.
Councilmembers Joselyn, Miller, Koellen and Elwood expressed support for the change pointing out how difficult fireworks can be for animals and veterans, as well as concerns for forest safety. The city, Eastside Fire & Rescue and the Snoqualmie Police Department were all on record supporting the change.
Councilmember Rosen expressed a desire to delay the decision until data from a community survey could be considered saying he realized the topic was emotional. Still, he would like to engage with the public before reacting.
North Bend citizen Michael Thomas was the only public participant that night who opposed the change to the fireworks code. Thomas spoke about concerns about the clarity of the code & enforcement, a desire to continue neighborhood traditions and citing data that would suggest fireworks are not as dangerous as some may think.
“This is a challenging topic, and we did not make this decision lightly. The use of aerial fireworks has been a subject of discussion in the North Bend community for years. This year, our Public Health and Safety Committee worked through the ordinance with the Council, addressing concerns from many angles, listening to residents, Eastside Fire and Rescue, health professionals, and neighboring cities. This feedback helped shape the final amendment to our Fireworks Code,” commented Mayor McFarland.
While personal use of aerial fireworks will be prohibited within city limits, the ordinance allows for community fireworks events.
What is allowed
- Ground fireworks
- Hand-held sparkling devices
- Smoke devices
What is not allowed: “Special fireworks” means any fireworks, generally large, not designed primarily for sale at retail to the public during prescribed dates and which produce visible or audible effects through combustion, deflagration, or detonation, and which must comply with federal regulations pursuant to the rules of the State Fire Marshal relating to fireworks and are classified as Class B explosives by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Aerial devices, including bottle rockets and missiles
- Firecrackers (illegal statewide)
- Explosive devices (illegal statewide)
Although the new ordinance was passed by Council on December 6th, it will not go into effect until December 21, 2023, per the State of Washington’s requirement that fireworks ordinances such as these must wait a period of one year after adoption to take effect.