How to tell if your fireworks are legal?

The Washington State Fire Marshal advises people to ensure that they purchase legal consumer fireworks that are both safe and high quality, visit one of the many licensed fireworks stands operating during the Fourth of July fireworks sales period. By law, these stands may only sell approved and legal fireworks.

“Don’t take any chances,” cautions State Fire Marshal Charles P. LeBlanc, “stay away from high-powered, illegal explosive devices such as M80s or homemade devices. While the Fourth of July happens only once a year, these devices can cause a life-altering injury that can last you a lifetime.”

Top 10 signs that your fireworks may be illegal:

  • They were not purchased from a Washington State licensed fireworks stand
  • They were purchased through an online vendor, mail order, or a listing on OfferUp
  • The person selling you the fireworks tells you they were bought in another state
  •  They are not packaged in brightly colored paper
  • They do not have any safety warnings or instructions on the packaging
  • The packaging does not indicate the country of manufacture
  • It resembles a roll of coins with a fuse coming out the side
  • It is wrapped with plain brown paper
  • It is solid red, silver or brown in color
  • It looks homemade:

o Wrapped in electrical tape

o Fuse isn’t taped down

If you know where these illegal explosives devices are being sold, manufactured, or possessed; report it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or the local police department on a non-emergency phone number. Only call 911 to report emergencies.

Always remember to use the three Bs of fireworks safety:

  • Be Prepared – Have water nearby and put pets indoors
  • Be Safe – Only adults should light fireworks
  • Be Responsible – Clean up fireworks debris

For more information about fireworks safety, public fireworks displays and the fireworks laws for your area, check the State Fire Marshal’s website at