Fourth of July weekend is coming up and the desire to buy and light fireworks is growing.
Every summer, people use fireworks, and occasionally, it gets out of hand.
This has led to multiple wildland and structure fires.
Firefighters in Eastern Idaho are urging community members to use fireworks wisely.
Sarah Wheeler, the public affairs officer for Caribou-Targhee National Forest said, “Every single year we preach the same message. Fire prevention, don’t light fireworks on public land, don’t light illegal fireworks in the state of Idaho, and every year people do not listen and every year we have some kind of accident or fire.”
Last year, Idaho Falls District BLM law enforcement officers seized hundreds of illegal fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday.
Wheeler believes that some people may be under the misconception that because some kinds of fireworks may be purchased legally, Idaho law makes their use legal.
Wheeler said, “If you buy them at a local firework stand then obviously, you think you they might be allowed to use. There are different restrictions in different places. I would really urge people as they buy their fireworks this year to contact their local fire departments and see what rules and regulations might revolve around lighting those off.”
Penalties will vary if caught using illegal fireworks.
Scott Grimmett, fire marshal for Idaho Falls Fire Department, said, “State law prohibits the use of dangerous fireworks without a permit. It could be a violation of a civil penalty or confiscations of the fireworks.”
For those who plan to use fireworks these next couple days, the Idaho Falls Fire Department reminds the public how they can do so safely.
Grimmett said, “Basic safety tips for fireworks: Always have an adult present. Be mindful of the kids. We all want to have a fun and enjoyable Fourth of July and be safe. Do it away from buildings or dry grass that could easily catch fire. Make sure you have a hose or a bucket of water to put something out.”
In the state of Idaho, selected fireworks are authorized for public use from June 23 to July 5.
The law does not specify what time of the day can be used.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department asks that you be mindful of neighbors.
With the exception of Fourth of July, they suggest you quit lighting fireworks after 10 p.m.
According to Grimmett, there are around 20,000 firework-related injuries a year in the United States.
Half of those injuries occur when children play with sparklers.
Grimmett strongly encourages parents to keep an eye on their kids while playing with sparklers.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department also reminds the public of what they may be liable for if not using fireworks carefully.
“Whether you are using ground fountains, sparkler, or dangerous fireworks from out of state or out of the area, if it goes into your neighbor’s bushes and sets their house on fire, that is something you will be liable for and that will be investigated. Just have a safe happy Fourth of July. Have adults present. Use safety precautions for fireworks,” said Grimmett.
For more information on safety tips and city code for fireworks, visit here.