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Where you can and can't use fireworks in Wisconsin

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 28, 2017

Depending on where you live, you might not be able to use fireworks this Fourth of July.

The city of Milwaukee bans all fireworks, including sparklers and ground fireworks. Outside of the city, each municipality has different rules. Most require a permit for any firework that leaves the ground.

At American Fireworks in Big Bend, they require you to purchase a permit with your fireworks that says you can only use them on a certain date and at a certain time.

"Currently it's July 15 out at Big Bend Park," said Dolan Pomrening, the operations manager at American Fireworks.

According to the Department of Justice, state law requires a permit for any firework that explodes or leaves the ground. Most permits will designate a time and place where it's legal to use your purchased fireworks.

Marie Norgal and her daughter are playing it safe this year shopping for fireworks, after learning that most fireworks require a permit.

"I grew up where we lit anything we wanted and they're all illegal now," Norgal said.

Most municipalities allow the use of sparklers, caps and other ground fireworks without a permit. But not in the city of Milwaukee.

Alderman Terry Witkowski of the 13th district says safety concerns led the city to make its local laws more strict.

"If it goes bang, sparkles, explodes in any manner, it's outlawed in the city of Milwaukee," he said. "We have had at least two buildings burn...during the time I've been alderman."

He says animals and veterans are also sometimes disturbed by fireworks.

Pomrening says they always explain the law and stress safety when talking with customers.

"We're doing everything we possibly can for you to use them legally and safely," he said. "And if you choose not to use them legally or safely, you know the repercussions that might be faced."

According to the DOJ, a person who possesses or uses fireworks without a valid permit, or who sells fireworks to a person who does not have a valid permit, is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation. Each firework illegally possessed, used or sold may be a separate violation.

A parent or guardian who allows a minor to possess or use fireworks (not including those for which no permits are required) is subject to a forfeiture of up to $1,000 per violation.

Witkowski says the city puts on several fireworks displays at local parks and he encourages people to enjoy shows put on by the professionals.