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Check laws before lighting fireworks

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Nate Wong, right, uses his tablet to show customers how specific fireworks react after being lit. Wong is manager of the Spread Eagle Fireworks tent in Escanaba. For six years Wong has worked in the tent selling fireworks and thinks of his customers like family. Spread Eagle Fireworks and the Eskymo Fan Club partnered to create the fundraiser ‘Christmas in July’. Winners of the raffle will win a Christmas stocking filled with $100 worth of fireworks.

ESCANABA — The 4th of July is coming up and many Yoopers and visitors to the Upper Peninsula may feel the urge to light fireworks. Before you do, know the local ordinances, or you could end up with a civil fine up to $1,000.

According to Act No. 635 passed Dec. 28, 2018, the number of days allowed to use fireworks reduced through the year. Around the 4th of July it added days.

Gladstone City Manager Eric Buckman said the city is in the process of changing the ordinance to coincide with Michigan state law.

“I think it’s just a matter of changing some dates and times,” he said.

Act No. 635, approved by Gov. Rick Snyder Dec. 28, 2018, amended the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act 256 of 2011, adding days around the Fourth to ignite fireworks — Friday and Saturday immediately preceding July 4, June 30 if the 4th of July is on Saturday or Sunday, and July 1 through July 4.

This year, fireworks can be discharged from June 30 through July 4, from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.

State law says citizens may light fireworks only on their personal property. It is illegal to ignite fireworks on public property, including sidewalks and streets, church and school properties, or another person’s property without their permission.

Lighting fireworks outside the designated times is considered a civil infraction carrying a fine of up to $1,000.

It is illegal to handle fireworks while under the influence, or to cause bodily harm or property damage. A person could be fined up to $10,000, or imprisoned for no more than five years. If the individual is charged with a misdemeanor or felony the arrested individual may receive both.

Escanaba’s Ordinance No. 1214 amended Article VII Section 18-212, changing the days, times, and fines to correspond to the state’s law.

Manistique also adopted the state changes to their ordinance. Townships may also hold a fireworks ordinance, so check with your township. Villages, townships and cities have the right to restrict the days and times of consumer firework use by local ordinance. Fireworks can only be used in accordance with all applicable local, state and federal law.

“We do not have an ordinance on fireworks, but I wish we did,” said Baldwin Township Supervisor Gregory Stevenson. “It would provide a little more guidance. People shoot them off too close to other’s homes. They should be more considerate.”

In 2012 Michigan legalized more powerful consumer-grade fireworks. Safety is very important around all fireworks. A sparklers’ temperature can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and should not be considered harmless to children. Clothing and dry grass can quickly ignite from any firework. Keep a source of water on hand around all fireworks.

In Michigan consumer fireworks must meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Minors are not allowed to be in possession of consumer fireworks on public property and retailers will not sell to minors.

Legal consumer fireworks include aerials, Roman Candles, helicopter/aerial spinners, bottle rockets/sky rockets, reloadable shell devices, firecrackers, missile type rockets, and single tube device with report.

Legal low impact fireworks include ground based or handheld sparklers, sparkler trees, cones, cylindricals, squares, California Rocket. Sparkling wheel devices, including ground sparkling devices, ball and disk, cylindricals. Smoke devices, cylindricals, smoke cones, California Smoke Candles.

Novelties are Snappers/Drop Pops, Snakes, Party Poppers, Smoke Ball, and sparkling devices. Novelties are not regulated in Michigan.

Go to the website, https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/fireworks_381040_7.pdf, to see examples.

The following are some do’s and do not’s when igniting consumer fireworks.

– Follow age restrictions and directions on the packages.

– Have adult supervision around while igniting all fireworks.

– Do not stand above fireworks when lighting, do light one at a time and back away quickly after.

– Do not create your own fireworks.

– Never point or throw fireworks at another person or animal.

– Do not carry fireworks in a pocket or fire from a metal or glass container.

– Do not try to re-light or pick up ‘duds’. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before picking up and soak it in water.

– Douse any fireworks with water before putting in the trash.

Verify fire danger with the Department of Natural Resources, If a burn ban is in effect fireworks cannot be discharged.

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