Idaho is not perfect, and this week will prove the folly of one of our many state laws. The famous Idaho fireworks law states that you can legally purchase aerial fireworks, but you must pledge not to use them. Fireworks sellers must have individuals sign affidavits that they understand and will not violate state law by firing off their fireworks purchases.

Michael Smith, Getty Images
Michael Smith, Getty Images

Aerial fireworks lead to fires, and in case you haven't noticed, most of our state is composed of very dry desert terrain. Dry terrain plus fireworks leads to massive loss of life, property, pets, and gosh knows what else. In other words, these fire mistakes can all be avoided if people follow state law. We're not the first to report; they don't, and thus, the Boise Fire Department has a warning on how to save your life and property.

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How Bad is the Problem?

Last year, Boise Fire reported they responded to 114 calls for service, and of those calls, 25 were fires caused by fireworks. Can anyone forget the massive fire surrounding Table Rock a few years ago that resembled a burning apocalypse? Do you know what started that massive fire? People firing off illegal fireworks in a very dry venerable area.


Where are fireworks prohibited?

Check out the map provided by the Boise Fire Department:


Map Courtesy of Boise Fire Department
Map Courtesy of Boise Fire Department

Boise Fire Marshal Mike Bisagno issued this warning in a written statement :

“The safety of our community is a responsibility we all share. We encourage all of you to celebrate the Fourth of July safely. Every year we see fires and injuries because of improper use and disposal of fireworks, or illegal fireworks. Our message is simple; keep it legal, keep it safe, and keep it out of the Boise Foothills.”

Boise Fire Department Safety Tips:

  1. Fireworks containing explosive material that will burn or deflagrate when ignited.  (Examples include, but are not limited to, firecrackers, cherry bombs, M-80s.)
  2. Fireworks that leave the ground of their own accord or fly when tossed into the air. Examples include, but are not limited to, skyrockets, bottle rockets, mortar shells, Roman candles.
  3. Fireworks designed for ground or near ground use that travel outside of a fifteen (15) foot diameter circle.
  4. Fireworks designed for ground or near ground use that, as a means of propulsion, emit showers or sparks longer than twelve (12) inches.
  5. Fireworks designed for use from a stationary position that emit sparks, showers, or flaming balls, vertically more than twenty (20) feet; or from which discharged material falls beyond a twenty (20) foot diameter circle.


More Safety Tips from Boise Fire Department:

  1. Check to make sure you are in an area where it’s legal to light off fireworks. Fireworks are prohibited in the Boise foothills (see additional information above).
  2. Use legal fireworks, available at licensed outlets. If you accidentally start a fire you can be sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay restitution for putting out the fire.
  3. Store fireworks out of the reach of children.
  4. Always read and follow label directions.
  5. Place pets indoors; they may be easily frightened by fireworks.
  6. Always have water handy (garden hose or bucket of water).

When Lighting Fireworks

  1. A responsible adult should always light fireworks.
  2. Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  3. Use outdoors only.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and move away quickly.
  5. Keep children and pets away from fireworks.
  6. Always remember, do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand.

After Lighting Fireworks

  1. Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water.
  2. Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly.
  3. Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15-20 minutes and then soak it with water).

Leave 911 open for emergencies

  1. Call the non-emergency number, 208-377-6790, for firework complaints.
  2. Be prepared to give the exact address of the complaint. Please be patient if the lines are busy.

Please have a happy and safe Independence Day Week.

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