MADISON, Wis. – With the Fourth of July holiday weekend fast approaching, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public that fireworks are prohibited on DNR-managed lands. Restricted areas include state parks, forests and state-owned public hunting and fishing areas.
Fireworks are regulated in Wisconsin, and a permit may be required depending on the specific type of fireworks. It is best to check with local officials before purchasing them and lighting them.
Most wildfires caused by fireworks occur during the weeks leading up to and after the Fourth of July holiday or under extended drought conditions. Wildfires can start anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered. The DNR recommends being especially cautious with fireworks, and all fires, when the fire danger is elevated and fires spread quickly and burn more intensely, especially in the spring and during periods of summer drought.
Anyone using fireworks should take precautions to prevent wildfires now and during the next few weeks. Exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets and roman candles, cause the most fireworks-related wildfires.
Although holiday favorites such as sparklers and fountains are not defined as fireworks per state law, they do pose a significant fire threat, particularly near grassy areas in hot and dry weather.
A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200.50. Violators, or parents of violators, could be responsible for the total costs of extinguishing a fire and up to twice the cost of damages.
Anyone planning on camping in a Wisconsin State Park or forest during the Fourth of July weekend should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities — not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks, forests and trails.
While fire danger levels are mostly moderate throughout Wisconsin, all fireworks have the potential to cause a wildfire. Most wildfires caused by fireworks typically occur around the Fourth of July holiday.
In addition to threatening the health of Wisconsin lands, fireworks could also have health effects on people due to the chemical properties they may contain and emit into the air. Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable for the cost of putting the fire out and any damages.
Before using fire of any kind in the outdoors:
- Know the daily fire danger
- Obtain the proper permits
- Choose a safe area free of flammable materials
- Have water and tools nearby
- Make sure fireworks are entirely out and cold before leaving