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Fourth of July fireworks: What's allowed in your state
Can you break the law when using fireworks in your state? Maybe.
Fourth of July fireworks: What's allowed in your state
The 4th of July is quickly approaching (where did June go?), which means it’s time for barbecues, picnics and, of course, fireworks.
In fact, fireworks seem to be an American summer holiday tradition. Consumers spent $755 million on consumer fireworks (fireworks for personal use, not for large events) for the 4th of July in 2015, up $60 million from the previous year, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).
“Safety must always be the number one priority when using fireworks,” Julie Heckman, the executive director of the APA, said in an email. “It is important for individuals to know what is legal in their area and to obey local fireworks laws.”
To help you do just that, here are the rules and requirements for buying and using consumer fireworks in each state. (Note: Some states may have neighborhood, regional and/or park restrictions on firework use that supersede state laws. Before you use the fireworks you’ve purchased, do your research. Many localities post their own rules to their government website around this time of year. It’s also important to note that some states have separate regulations for display fireworks.)See fireworks laws in all 50 states:
The Fireworks Laws in Every State | Credit.com
Here are the laws in the 10 most populous states.CALIFORNIAAllowed: Ground and handheld sparkling devices; cylindrical and cone fountains; wheel and ground spinners; illuminating torch; flitter sparklers (Morning Glory) not exceeding 10 inches in length or ¼-inch in diameter; toy smoke devices; party poppers and snappers.Not allowed: Firecrackers; skyrockets; rockets; Roman candles; chasers; all wire and wooden stick sparklers; surprise items; friction items; torpedoes; firework kits and fireworks containing arsenic, phosphorus, thiocyanates magnesium (magnesium-aluminum alloys are allowed); Mercury salts; picrates or picric acid; gallates or gallic acid; select chlorates; boron; titanium (except particle sizes larger than 100 mesh); zirconium and gunpowder.Age restriction: 16+Sale dates: Noon June 28 – noon July 6.Enforcing authority: State Fire MarshalOther notes: You must be 18+ to sell fireworks.TEXASAllowed: Fireworks that meet the CPSC and DOT consumer firework regulations.Not allowed: Sky rockets/bottle rockets with a total propellant charge of less than 4 grams, casings less than 5/8-inch by 3½ inches, and overall length including stick of less than 1.8 inches; other fireworks not on the CPSC approval list.Age restriction: 16+Sale dates: June 24 – July 4; December 20 – January 1, May 1 – May 5.Enforcing authority: Texas Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshal’s OfficeOther notes: Be advised: you have to be further than 100 miles from the Texas/Mexico border to buy fireworks.FLORIDAAllowed: Certain devices that emit a shower of sparks upon burning, don’t contain any explosive compounds, don’t detonate or explode, are handheld or ground-based, can’t propel themselves through the air and contain no more than 100 grams of chemical compounds that spark upon burning.Not allowed: Firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, daygo bombs and any fireworks containing explosive or flammable compounds.Age restriction: 18+Enforcing authority: Division of State Fire MarshalOther notes: Legal fireworksmay be subject to size limitations.NEW YORKAllowed: Ground-based or handheld sparkling devices (including cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, and wood sparklers/dipped sticks), party poppers and snappers.Not allowed: Aerial consumer fireworks, firecrackers and chasers, skyrockets, Roman candles, bombs and metal wire sparklers.Age restriction: 18+ for sparkling devicesEnforcing authority: New York State Department of Labor/New York State Office of Fire Prevention and ControlILLINOIS Allowed: Select novelty items (party poppers, smoke devices and sparklers) that appear on a list the state fire marshal updates annually.Not allowed: Handheld fireworks, bottle rockets, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, chasers, buzz bombs, helicopters, missiles, pinwheels and planes.Age restriction: 18+Enforcing authority: Office of the State Fire MarshalPENNSYLVANIAAllowed: Pennsylvania law does not consider ground and handheld sparkling devices, certain novelty items and toy caps (as defined in APA Standard 87-1) as consumer fireworks, therefore these items are permitted at all times.Not allowed: All other fireworks are not allowed for consumer use.Sale dates: Year-round for allowed items.
Fourth of July: Where you can and can't light off personal fireworks in Utah
Can I light fireworks this year? Where are fireworks allowed in Utah? Will the drought affect firework shows this Fourth of July?
Where you can — and can’t — light off personal fireworks in Utah this year
By Carter Williams, KSL.com Jul 2, 2022, 6:32pm UTC
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Riley Warner stacks fireworks in preparation for the Fourth of July weekend at a Pyro City fireworks tent in West Valley City on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Mengshin Lin, Deseret News
It's illegal to light off personal fireworks in Utah for most of the year. That changes in July.
Fireworks can legally be launched from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 2 through July 5, and again on July 22 to July 25. The window extends to midnight on the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day.
While personal fireworks are legal again beginning Saturday, there are still some stipulations. Municipalities across the state have the ability to designate areas where fireworks are and aren't legal, or even ban them altogether. Given the state's drought and fire risks, Gov. Spencer Cox said last month that it's important for everyone to study these maps if they plan to light off personal fireworks this July.
Utah leaders urge caution with fireworks amid record drought. Will people listen?
"We all have a responsibility ... to help exercise good fire sense to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and to not burn the state down," he said. "Using fireworks in nonapproved areas — near dry grass and brush — and not having a proper way to extinguish a fire has been disastrous in the past and could be again this year. If you're open to just skipping fireworks, it's a great year to do that. But if you are going to use fireworks, you have to use them responsibly."
Lighting off fireworks outside of approved timeframes and outside of approved areas may result in a fine of up to $1,000 plus possible additional costs if illegal discharge results in a fire.
With that in mind, here are all the changes to where fireworks can and can't be launched this year.
Areas where fireworks are banned altogether
There are much fewer municipal areas where fireworks are entirely banned this year when compared to July of last year. One reason for this is that drought isn't as exceptional as it was at this time last year, at least according to U.S. Drought Monitor standards. The other reason is that monsoon moisture patterns arrived early in the state this year, whereas their arrival was still uncertain heading into July last year.
Should Utah’s drought lead to a ban on fireworks? What our poll says
Despite that, there are still some areas where you aren't allowed to light off any fireworks anywhere within the boundaries of the location, including:
All unincorporated private land or state and federally managed public lands, including national parks and areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management or Utah Department of Natural Resources
Apple Valley, Washington County
Elk Ridge, Utah County
Park City, where the ban also includes any non-permitted open fires within city boundaries
Rockville, Washington County
Stockton, Tooele County
Communities where fireworks are allowed, with some restrictions
These are communities that released updated firework restrictions in 2022.
Some places use the same restrictions every year. For communities not listed below, please check with the Utah Department of Public Safety or with your local fire department to ensure fireworks rules in your area.
Fireworks are allowed except in:
Areas east and south of the current and proposed Porter Rockwell Boulevard, including land bordering the Camp Williams Military Reservation
East of the railroad tracks
North of 14400 South
Anywhere within 50 yards of the Jordan River or any canal within city limits
A map of the restrictions can be found here.
Bryce Canyon City
Personal fireworks may only be ignited at the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo dirt arena, 115 E. 100 North, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the days when fireworks are legal in Utah. They are illegal everywhere else in the community.
Fireworks are permitted within most parts of city limits but not near wildland-urban interface areas. An interactive map showing all areas where fireworks are allowed and are not permitted can be found here.
Fireworks are banned in most locations east of 2700 East, as well as other wildland-urban interface areas scattered throughout the city limits. A map of the restrictions can be found here.
Fireworks are permitted in all areas within city limits except for areas east of Main Street from the northern boundary to State Street and 200 East from State Street to the southern boundaries. A map of the restrictions can be found here.
Fireworks are permitted everywhere but areas east of 1300 East within city limits.
All fireworks are banned in areas east of U.S. Highway 89. Aerial fireworks are restricted in:
Here's how to light fireworks safely on July 4th
Ready to celebrate the Fourth of July with some firecrackers and bottle rockets? Here are 20 safety tips to use before you light the fuse.
Lighting fireworks for the Fourth of July? Here are some tips to stay safe.
Grace Altenhofen Des Moines Register 0:00 1:32
With fireworks-related emergency room visits on the rise, Iowans are encouraged to exercise caution when lighting their favorite sky rockets and Roman candles over Fourth of July weekend.
In the most recent data available, the Iowa Department of Public Health recorded 167 cases of fireworks-related injuries resulting in emergency department visits in 2020. In 2019, 127 fireworks-related emergency department visits were reported, down slightly from 143 in 2018 and 159 in 2017, the year Iowa's longstanding ban on retail fireworks sales was lifted.
Still, these numbers were dramatically higher than the reported fireworks-related ER visits from 2009-2016, which stayed in the double digits and ranged from 38 to 86 incidents each year.
According to State Fire Marshal Dan Wood, many injuries stem from the improper disposal of fireworks.
"A big thing we saw come up last year was the disposal," Wood said. "People would think they (the fireworks) were out, they'd throw it in a dumpster or their personal trash can in their house and there seemed to be a lot of dumpster or trash can fires, which can spread. Just make sure they're out before you throw them away."More:Where to watch fireworks shows on Fourth of July weekend in central Iowa
Some cities prohibit the unlicensed use of fireworks altogether, including Altoona, Clive, Des Moines, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights.
In Des Moines alone, police have received 365 fireworks-related calls so far in 2022, according to Des Moines Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Paul Parizek.
Parizek said the department received 1,707 fireworks-related calls in 2021, 834 of which came between July 1-5. In 2020, there were 2,769 fireworks-related calls, 1,079 of which were made from July 1-5.
For those who want to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, Parizek recommends finding a professional display happening around the Des Moines metro.
"Blasting off fireworks in our neighborhoods can be dangerous not only to the person detonating them, it’s a potential fire hazard, and it’s horribly inconsiderate of many who are sensitive to the noise — pets, children, veterans who suffer from combat-related PTSD," Parizek said.
The fine for the unlicensed use of fireworks in Des Moines can exceed $600 — a "pretty hefty price to pay for something you can watch a pro do for free," according to Parizek.
Other municipalities allow fireworks but place restrictions on the dates and times they can be used, such as Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Grimes, Indianola, Norwalk and Waukee. Wood urges Iowans to be aware of their local ordinances before setting off fireworks.More:Where can you set off July 4 fireworks in the Des Moines metro?
"Those are put in place for a reason," Wood said. "The local jurisdictions just want everybody to be safe, and when you've got houses that close, there are things that can catch on fire, particularly houses and stuff around houses like grass clippings."
While Wood does not discourage Iowans from setting off their own fireworks, he emphasized that safety should always be the priority.
"More or less, as far as the injuries go, it's misuse," Wood said. "Whether it's some fireworks that someone didn't think go off and then it goes off, or just the misuse of the actual device, whether that be pointed at somebody or just not using them how they're supposed to be used."
Obeying local ordinances and following safety guidelines can help make a holiday memorable — for the fireworks and fun, not an emergency room visit.
20 fireworks safety tips
Here are 20 safety tips from the State Fire Marshal's Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Transportation and National Council on Fireworks Safety.
1. Never attempt to light a firework or fuse within your vehicle, either as a driver or a passenger.
2. Never smoke near or while handling fireworks.
3. Transport fireworks in a spark-proof container, such as a cardboard box. Firework assortments are typically packaged in spark-proof materials.
4. Transport fireworks in your vehicle's trunk, not in the passenger compartment.
5. If driving a van or other vehicle without a trunk, always ensure fireworks are kept out of direct sunlight.
6. If you are flying, Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
7. Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks and read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
8. A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.