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Fireworks Banned in Boundary Waters

Although non-explosive and non-aerial consumer fireworks are now permitted in Minnesota, they are still banned on public and federal lands.  It is unlawful to use these fireworks in parks, roadways, alleys, school grounds, and government property.  This ban includes the Superior National Forest, Boundary Waters Canoe Area (www.bwca.cc), and the local state parks.

Minnesota Statute 624.20 now allows for the use on private lands of sparklers, cones, snakes, ground spinners, and party poppers that do not explode or emit anything more than sparks.  These must be under 75 grams of chemical mixture per tube or 200 grams or less for multiple tubes.  Sparklers are limited to 100 grams per item.

Still illegal are any explosive or aerial fireworks, such as lady fingers, bottle rockets, roman candles, chasers, aerial shells, and others.

Even though the fire danger has been reduced from recent rains, extreme caution should be used when using fireworks.  Stay in open areas away from dry grass and brush.  Use with adult supervision, and water at hand.  Eye protection is recommended.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 10 deaths from fireworks in 2000, and 17 in 1999.  There were 11,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2000, up from 8,500 in 1999.

Half of the injuries were to children under age 15, and 20% were inflicted by the now legal sparklers.

How do these injuries occur?

  • Being too close: Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode; for example, when someone bends over to look more closely at a firework that has been ignited, or when a misguided bottle rocket hits a nearby person (U.S. CPSC 1996).
  • Unsupervised use: One study estimates that children are 11 times more likely to be injured by fireworks if they are unsupervised (U.S. CPSC 1996).
  • Lack of physical coordination: Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely.
  • Curiosity: Children are often excited and curious around fireworks which can increase their chances of being injured (e.g., when they re-examine a firecracker "dud" that fails to ignite) (U.S. CPSC 1996).
  • Experimentation: "Homemade" fireworks (e.g., ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous explosions (U.S. CPSC 1996).
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