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Phoenix, fireworks and the Fourth of July: What’s legal, what’s not

PHOENIX — Before you head to a street-side vendor or store to pick up fireworks for the Fourth of July, the Phoenix Fire Department said it’s important to know what’s legal and what’s not.

The department has three classifications for fireworks: green, yellow and red.

Fire Inspector Bryan Scholl said fireworks such as sparklers and poppers are in the green category, meaning they’re legal to buy and use year-round.

“Those are not affected by the law,” he said. “What is affected by the law is what’s in the yellow area and that what (are) called permissible fireworks.”

Permissible fireworks are seasonally available until July 6. Scholl said those include things such as ground sparklers, spinners and fountains.

There are fireworks in the red category. Scholl said these are illegal, even on Independence Day.

“Those will be anything like your bottle rockets, your roman candles, your mortars, your Black Cats, your firecrackers — those types of items,” he said.

Scholl said if a firework goes up into the air or explodes, it’s illegal.

Even though some fireworks are legal, health experts recommend people leave fireworks to the professionals.

“I don’t think that there are any safe fireworks,” Kevin Foster, medical director at the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Integrated Health System, said.

Foster said even fireworks in the green category can still cause injury.

“Sparklers do burn at hundreds or even thousands of degrees and all it takes is a fraction of a second to get a serious burn from that.”

Toying with larger and illegal fireworks presents even more serious risks, Foster said, with the possibility of losing limbs or sustaining other life-threatening injuries.

He recommended people visit one of the Valley’s various displays if they would like to see fireworks this holiday.