Where fireworks are allowed for the July Fourth weekend, and how to use them safely

Fireworks are prohibited in Anchorage, but allowed in some other areas of the state under certain conditions
Fireworks.(Cordell Wright)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 10:15 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 10:25 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Many celebrate the nation’s Independence Day by having bonfires, busting out the grill, and lighting fireworks.

Fireworks are not allowed in the Municipality of Anchorage, but they are allowed in some other areas of the state, such as Houston, but only on private land with the land owner’s permission. If the Alaska Division of Forestry issues a burn ban in the area, they are then prohibited.

“Safety is a very important thing because this is everybody’s home and we want everybody to stay safe,” said Jackie Johnson, a manager at Gorilla Fireworks in Houston.

Johnson says business at Gorilla Fireworks has been pretty good lately.

“We’ve had a great number of people coming in,” she said. “We had a very busy weekend, and we’re happy to be open and moving forward, and getting our shelves all stocked and ready to go for the fourth (of July),” she said.

Johnson said her customers are looking forward to the holiday weekend.

“They kind of have all three days ready to go, and (are) planning extra celebrations this year at a time when I think we need to celebrate more than ever, so it’s been nice,” she said.

While fireworks can look majestic as they light up the sky, they can also be dangerous.

“They’re meant to explode, so you gotta handle them with care and do it as safe as you can,” said Eric Lawson, a senior captain with the Anchorage Fire Department.

Lawson said sparklers are probably the most popular item in the fireworks category, but also likely the most dangerous.

“Up to 25% of injuries come from sparklers, and with kids under 6, it’s actually higher,” he said.

He said 50% of injuries to children come from sparklers.

Lawson advises people to use extra caution this upcoming weekend to not only stay away from the hospital, but also prevent starting a fire.

“Never (light them) inside a structure, don’t point them at structures, (point them) away from trees and dead grass,” he said. “If you are somewhere that allows fireworks, don’t let kids handle or light fireworks. Don’t use them when you’re impaired (and) light off one at a time.”

According to a press release sent to Alaska’s News Source by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Department of Emergency Services, fireworks are explosives best left to the professionals. They also remind people to be aware of wildfire dangers and to follow all burn guidelines and safe practices from the Division of Forestry.

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