Fireworks Safety : Virginia Department of Forestry

Fireworks Safety

Celebrate Safely!!!

While legal fireworks and sparklers are a popular part of many celebrations, they can be a danger to users, children, pets, and the environment. Fireworks can also be a cause of wildfires. Even when finished burning, they are still hot and can smolder in dry grass or leaves and ignite fires. One spark is all it would take for a wildfire to start.

Public fireworks displays can be a good alternative to personal fireworks. Check your local news source or online sources for information about times and locations near you.

Know the Facts

  • If you are found responsible for having started a wildfire with fireworks, you may be liable for all suppression and reclamation costs or even face imprisonment and fines.
  • Many types of fireworks are illegal in Virginia unless you are a licensed contractor.
  • Find out what fireworks are approved by the the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Approved Permissible Fireworks List.
  • Possessing, selling, or using unlawful fireworks is a crime. Learn more about fireworks laws in Virginia.
  • Remember, fireworks of any kind are NEVER allowed on federal lands.
  • Some localities completely ban the sale, possession, and use of any type of fireworks, including sparklers. Contact your local fire marshal, fire officials, or law enforcement about local restrictions.
  • Learn about permitting for professional fireworks displays.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Be Prepared!

  • Purchase only legal fireworks available at approved stands. Never make your own fireworks, and be on the lookout for teens experimenting with homemade fireworks.
  • Know the laws for your area.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks.
  • Have a fully-charged water hose or fire extinguisher nearby to put out stray sparks.
  • Clear a level area away from things that can burn.

Be Safe!

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks.
  • Children and pets should also be kept a safe distance away from igniting and spent fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks— set family boundaries. Have a designated adult light all fireworks. Do not allow young children to light fireworks.
  • Use eye protection, wear safety goggles.
  • Use fireworks only outdoors and away from anything that can burn.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Light only one firework at a time — and never re-light a “dud” firework. Move away quickly and keep at a safe distance until the display is finished. Never have any part of your body over a firework. Never throw fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers— and don’t even think about carrying them in your pocket!
  • Do not use fireworks near woods or any combustible material, use fireworks outdoors and in a safe area away from fields, grassy areas, and buildings.
  • Use fireworks in parking lots, driveways, and gravel or dirt areas.
  • Do not use under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
  • Monitor the area for several hours after using fireworks.

Be Responsible!

  • After you finish — clean up all debris when finished. Duds can be dangerous; if a device does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least 15 minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water.
  • Be sure all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly. Soak them completely in water before putting them in the trash can.

Enforcing Authority

Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Office of State Fire Marshal

Code of Virginia Laws

Statewide Fire Prevention Code Art. 27

Contact Us

For information about local restrictions and laws, contact your local fire marshal, fire officials, or law enforcement.

For more information on firework permits and pyrotechnician certification, contact: ASFM – Special Operations – Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office;  or (540) 270-6617.