On December 1, 2010, a limited variety of “permissible” consumer fireworks, which are now more commonly being referred to as “state-approved fireworks”, became legal for sale in Arizona for the first time since the 1940’s ban prohibiting all consumer fireworks. Arizona’s new law, HB 2246, allows only this limited variety of consumer fireworks which are basically non-aerial and novelty items and which specifically exclude such items as bottle rockets, skyrockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, torpedoes, roman candles, firecrackers, aerial shells and mortars. Additionally, the law allows cities and towns to regulate the use within their incorporated areas. Use of any fireworks, including state-approved fireworks, on state lands is prohibited. Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.
Proponents of the new law worked in conjunction with a number of advocacy groups, including the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, (a voluntary membership organization of the incorporated municipalities in Arizona) and the County Supervisors Association of Arizona (CSA), whose membership includes the 55 elected supervisors from Arizona's 15 counties. Both organizations submitted language which was adopted and included in HB 2246 as it was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Brewer, and as a result, both organizations were neutral on the legislation as it moved through the legislative process. In total, the language in the new law was heard in seven legislative committees prior to being signed by the Governor, and in each of those legislative committees not a single individual, agency or organization testified in opposition to the bill.
The new law requires the State Fire Marshal to adopt the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) standards for the regulation of the storage of fireworks and their retail sales venues, as well as the American Pyrotechnics Association Standard 87-1 as adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the classification and transportation of consumer fireworks.
Additionally, the new law grants cities and towns the authority to limit the use of fireworks within their incorporated boundaries, but does note that the sale of fireworks is allowed statewide. Thus further regulation on the sale of fireworks is prohibited. Counties also have control of the use of fireworks on unincorporated areas within their boundaries in times of high fire danger.
Please check with your local fire department to see what the rules and regulations are and what days, hours of the day and locations these state-approved fireworks may be used in your community. The State Fire Marshal has produced a safety brochure entitled “Celebrate Safely!” which provides some common sense tips on the safe and responsible use of state-approved fireworks. It is available at most locations where TNT Fireworks are being sold and is also viewable at http://www.az-fireworks.com/FireSafetyBrochureAZ.pdf.
Please take time to read the safety information on the state-approved fireworks, and always celebrate safely and responsibly!