4th of July celebrations will soon be upon us and there are many positive memories to be made while celebrating Independence Day. This release is intended to educate the public about fireworks laws and safety in an effort to keep Sawyer County residents and visitors respected, safe and at ease.
State law allows the sale, possession and use, without a permit, of sparklers not exceeding thirty-six inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than .25 grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. These items are not designated as fireworks and are the only items that a person may use or possess without a permit or that may be sold to a person who does not have a permit.
Possessing or using any fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, in Wisconsin without a permit is illegal. A commonly used rule of thumb is that a permit is required if the device explodes or leaves the ground. The sale of these restricted fireworks to a resident of this state without a valid permit is also illegal.
A permit may be issued by a mayor, village president or town chair or any of their designees.
A permit is valid only in the city, village or town of the official who issued it.
A permit must specify the date of use and location at which the fireworks may be possessed or used.
Fireworks vendors are permitted to sell fireworks to a person who is not a resident of this State. However a nonresident may not possess or use fireworks in Wisconsin without a valid Wisconsin permit.
A person who possesses or uses fireworks without a valid permit, or who sells fireworks to a person who does not have a valid permit, is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000.00 per violation. Each illegal firework, possessed, used or sold may be a separate violation.
A parent or guardian who allows a minor to possess or use fireworks is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000.00.
The following safety tips should be exercised when using fireworks, even those which do not require a permit:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.