Valley fireworks rules for New Year's Eve celebrations

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- It’s almost time to ring in 2015! And if fireworks are part of your celebration, there are new rules you need to know about. 

Many Valley cities, including Phoenix, used to ban all fireworks all year. But a state law passed last spring makes certain fireworks legal across the Valley for the time around New Year’s Eve and Independence Day. 

Big fireworks that explode and go up in the air are still best (and legally) left to the pros, according to the Mesa Fire Department. 

“That comes down to property conservation because those are directly related to the damage they can cause here.  And with our dry weather, most times [fires] are connected to the fact that [fireworks] are either aerial or have an explosive component which allows them to spread fire,” said Dept. Chief Forrest Smith, Mesa Fire Department. 

There are three tiers of fireworks in our state – only two of them being legal.

Sparklers, smoke bombs and other novelty items can be purchased and used year-round.

Fountains and other ground-based sparkling devices are seasonal and may be used June 24th – July 6th and Dec. 24th – Jan 3rd. 

But pretty much anything that goes boom or goes up in the air is illegal to buy or use in Arizona. 

“Those are the ones a consumer could get in another state or buy in another country which might be legal there, but those actually let off a report or go airborne,” said Smith, noting that the common firecracker is among those on the illegal list. 

There used to be a hodgepodge of rules about where and when fireworks could be used but the new law passed last spring took away municipal discretion in Maricopa and Pima counties.  That means the rules mentioned above generally apply in all cities and towns across the Valley. 

“Just a few years ago different cities had different policies, or laws in place,” said Smith.  “What that law did is put uniform laws in place across the state and took away the confusion for the consumer."

A basic rule of thumb is anything you buy here can be used here.  If you’re still unsure, most municipalities have a fireworks section on their website with further clarification. 

Fines for breaking the rules run anywhere from $150 to $1,000.