by: Graham Johnson Updated:Seattle —
Fireworks are illegal in Seattle, but violators are likely to get away with it.
Seattle police say they become so busy with emergencies on the Fourth of July, they urge people not to call 911 to report what is essentially a noise complaint.
And police do not plan fireworks patrols. "No, we are not out looking for fireworks violations. Believe me, we are going to be busy enough," said police spokesman Mark Jamieson.
Police say people can call the department's non-emergency number, 206-625-5011, with fireworks complaints. But they acknowledge follow-up investigations can be challenging, and that the most likely way people will get cited is if they set off fireworks in front of an officer.
City code says fireworks violators can be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
Seattle Police do want people to call 911 if fireworks injure someone or damage property.
Seattle park rangers will actively look for fireworks violations and have the authority to write citations. Seattle Parks and Recreation plans to turn on the lights at several ballfields with synthetic turf to discourage people from lighting off fireworks on the field. The turf can be damaged by fireworks and is expensive to replace.
Seattle police encourage people to enjoy the Seafair fireworks show at Lake Union.
"Leave it to the professionals," Jamieson said. ''They do a great job. It's a great show."