The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds those celebrating the Fourth of July that fireworks are prohibited on all DNR lands. Prohibited areas include state parks and forests as well as state-owned public hunting and fishing properties.

"For the safety of our guests and our natural resources, and in accordance with state law, fireworks are prohibited on state properties," said Chris Madison, chief ranger with the Wisconsin State Park System. "Although Fourth of July favorites such as the sparkler and the snakes are not defined as 'fireworks' per state law, we discourage their use because they are a fire hazard."

A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200. Parents could also be liable for the full costs of extinguishing a fire started by their children.

"Most wildfires caused by fireworks occur around the Fourth of July holiday or under extended drought conditions,” said Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist. “But the reality is, wildfires can occur anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered."

Anyone using fireworks should take precautions to prevent wildfires now and during the next few weeks. Exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets and roman candles, cause the most fireworks-related wildfires. In hot and dry weather, even sparklers and fountains pose a significant threat in dry, grassy areas. Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out but also for any damages. 

Fireworks are restricted in Wisconsin, and permits may be required. Check with local officials before purchase and usage. A city, village, town or county may also have ordinances that strictly limit fireworks sales or possession.

Anyone planning on camping in a Wisconsin State Park or forest during the Fourth of July weekend should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities — not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks, forests and trails.

At the end of June, fire danger levels throughout Wisconsin were low across the state, but fireworks could increase those numbers. This year, records show nearly 500 wildfires in DNR fire protection areas of Wisconsin. Although wildfires caused by fireworks amount to just 5% of the annual total, these fires typically occur in a condensed time frame around the Fourth of July holiday.

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