Arizona firework safety reminders ahead of New Year’s Eve

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 8:40 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2022 at 8:42 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona residents are buying last-minute fireworks for their big New Year’s Eve celebrations.

It’s important to know what is legal before buying or lighting those fireworks. It is also important to remember to stay safe while having fun.

“We’re looking for highest and widest and the most cracks and pops,” said Kelly Lillard while shopping at San Tan Fireworks off Cortaro Road.

“We have this $135 package that has a ton of stuff in it,” added Lillard. “It’s a family pack and we typically have a good hour and a half out in the street when we do something like this.”

Ashlee Walling is the manager of San Tan Fireworks. She said she’s spent the past few days selling fireworks to long-time customers and new Arizona residents.

“I have our regulars but I’m seeing a lot of new residents honestly this year, people moving from out of state. Lots of California, Colorado even. New residents to Arizona,” Walling said.

She said she always reminds everyone what’s legal and what’s not.

“Any sort of explosives are illegal, firecrackers are illegal, bottle rockets, roman candles are illegal,” Walling said. “Everything is ground effects but some of them will actually spin around, some explode, some hop and whistle. It’s actually pretty cool what some of them can do.”

Regulated consumer fireworks can only be purchased and used during certain times -- May 4-6, June 24-July 6 and Dec. 24-Jan. 3. Novelties such as sparklers and poppers are allowed year-round.

Even though they’re legal, Northwest Fire District Capt. Shane Medlen said everyone needs to be safe and responsible.

“Make sure you’re standing at least 150 feet away from a structure or your house. Make sure fireworks are approved by your homeowners’ association or if you’re going to use them on private property that’s fine. Be mindful of children, and pets and always have them supervised,” said Medlen.

Fireworks can burn hotter than 1800 degrees, and the embers can burn through clothes.

Almost half of all firework injuries happen to kids 15 or younger.

Here are a few tips to help avoid that:

  • Children should never handle fireworks
  • Always have adults supervising teenagers using fireworks.
  • Stay at least 30 feet away from homes and any plants.
  • Keep an extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  • Do not re-light a firework that does not ignite
  • When picking up a spent firework, use tongs and put it in a bucket of water overnight to cool off.

“If a fire becomes larger than the size of a bonfire, don’t hesitate to call 911 and stay back safely away from the fire,” said Medlen. “Don’t try to put it out on your own, wait for fire officials.”