Houston fireworks stands get busy ahead of Independence Day

Published: Jul. 3, 2018 at 6:38 PM AKDT
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Dozens of people flocked to the fireworks stands in Houston Tuesday afternoon to stock up on fireworks before the Fourth of July.

“We’ve been getting busier and busier and getting everybody ready to celebrate Independence Day,” said Gorilla Fireworks manager Jackie Johnson.

Unlike Anchorage and the rest of the Mat-Su Borough, fireworks are permitted year-round in Houston on private property with the property owner’s permission. Still, firefighters were posted outside the fireworks stands on Tuesday to make sure customers know how to use their fireworks safely and responsibly.

“Anytime there’s a major holiday, the Fire Department always sends people to the different firework stands for public education to answer questions for anybody in the public and to make sure the stands are complying with the city code,” said Houston Fire Chief Christian Hartley.

“We work directly with the fire marshals, making sure that everything is as safe as possible,” Johnson said. “We’re happy that we can still offer so many items for all of our customers ready to celebrate the fourth.”

This year’s independence day promises to be warm and sunny, but with that perfect weather comes an elevated risk of fire, which is why some authorities in Southcentral Alaska have instituted a burn ban. Even in Houston, some specific types of fireworks have been banned this year.

“Anything you launch from bottle. Pop rockets, bottle rockets, sky missiles, parachutes,” said Hartley, listing the banned fireworks. “Some of the parachute novelties go up and they have these flares on them.”

Hartley says these fireworks have been banned because the user has little control over where they end up after they launch. As for the fireworks you can purchase, be sure to consult the operators instructions before use.

“Always shoot them off in appropriate places. Pick a gravel pit or something not near the dead spruce, not near anything that can catch fire,” Hartley said. “Just be safe about it. Always have water with you.”