As the July 4 weekend celebrations begin in Illinois in 2022, families in the city and suburbs plan to attend barbecues, parades and, of course, fireworks displays.
But are fireworks in Illinois? And if so, which ones are allowed?
The real answer depends on where you live in the state. In the state’s two largest cities, Chicago and Aurora, the sale, possession, and use of fireworks is illegal. And according to the Illinois State Fire Marshal, the explosive displays are regulated in two categories:
- Consumer fireworks, including fountains, repeaters and parachutes
- Pyrotechnic displays, which use professional quality fireworks such as mortars, cake bundles and ground displays that display an image.
“Consumer fireworks are allowed ONLY in towns, counties and municipalities that have passed ordinances permitting such displays, while adhering to the requirements for use, AND use only approved types of fireworks,” the Fire Marshall says.
In addition, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, “consumer fireworks may only be purchased and displayed by adults licensed by their local jurisdiction,” according to a statement released Thursday by the IDNR.
“Hand fireworks, including fireworks, Roman candles, and bottle rockets, are not approved for sale or use in Illinois.”
What fireworks are banned in Illinois?
Under Illinois regulations, there are still some popular displays that remain banned for non-professional use.
Here’s a full list:
- Hand fireworks
- bottle rockets
- shoot up
- roman candles
- buzz bombs
- Placing objects other than those identified as approved consumer fireworks on the ground
- Pin wheels or other revolving device, whether mounted on the ground or above the ground
- sky lanterns
- Firecrackers (all types)
Which fireworks are allowed?
This remains dependent on where you live and whether a permit has been obtained for non-professional displays. So be sure to check your local guidelines.
Here is a list of fireworks that are allowed in certain locations in the state:
- Cones including showers of sparks, fountains, and repeaters (aka cakes)
- Single-tube fountains may not contain more than 75 grams of pyrotechnic composition in total. Cone fountains may not contain more than 50 grams of pyrotechnic composition in total. Multi-tube fountains may not contain more than 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition in total.
- Mines, comets, tubes, shells, beautiful flowers and parachutes
- These items are fireworks devices designed to produce low-level aerial effects propelled into the air by an elevator charge. Shells will burst at the peak of flight to create a display of stars, reports or other effects or leave a trail of sparks until exhausted. These items contain a maximum of 40 grams of chemical composition and no more than 20 grams of lift charge.
It is important to note that all such fireworks must be mounted on the ground.
“No handheld consumer fireworks are approved,” the fire chief said.
Are sparklers legal in Illinois?
Illinois does not directly regulate “novelty effects” under its fireworks guidelines, but the state does give municipalities the right to prohibit the sale or use of such products on public property. So again, it is important to check the local ordinances.
Here’s what it says under “novelty effects”:
•snake or glowworm pellets
• smoking devices
• trick noisemakers known as party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches, cigarette loads and automatic burglar alarms
•toy guns, toy sticks, toy guns or other devices using paper or plastic caps containing 16 mg or less of explosive dust, provided they are
constructed so that the hand cannot come into contact with the cap when in place before the explosion
•paper or plastic toy gun caps containing less than 13 mg of explosive mixture
What do you need if you want to put a display on your property?
Adults who wish to set off fireworks on their property and only use fireworks that are classified as ‘consumer fireworks’ can only do so in locations where it is allowed locally. If you live in one of those places and want to have an exhibition, here’s what you need to do:
1. Obtaining approval from the local authorities
2. Obtain a permit issued by the appropriate unit of the local government
3. Complete approved training with the local fire brigade
4. Follow the rules for use in an approved area after an on-site inspection
How much can you be fined? And how do you report illegal use of fireworks?
According to the IDNR, fines can be substantial.
“Anyone who owns, uses, transfers or purchases fireworks without a valid IDNR individual explosives permit or storage certificate is violating Illinois law and could face penalties,” the IDNR said in a news release Thursday.
“A violation of the Illinois Explosives Act can be a Class 3 felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, IDNR can impose administrative fines for offenses related to fireworks and other explosives.”
In addition, some cities have their own fines.
In Aurora, violators can be fined up to $1,000, with repeat offenders receiving even higher penalties. And in Lynwood — which borders Indiana, where fireworks are legal — fines have been increased from $50 to $750, the city says.
Reports of illegal fireworks should be made to the city or county in which you live.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 15,600 people nationwide were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020, compared to about 10,000 emergency rooms treated fireworks injuries in 2019.
Where can you see fireworks displays in Chicago and the suburbs?
Here’s where and when to see fireworks in the Chicago area and the suburbs — including the famous Navy Pier fireworks show.