(WFXR) — From Fourth of July to New Year’s Eve, people across the U.S. will be celebrating with a bang, but before you light up the fireworks, the Virginia Department of Forestry has some helpful advice to keep you safe.

The Legality of Fireworks

  • If you start a wildfire with fireworks, you will be responsible for all suppression and reclamation costs or face prison and fines
  • Unless you are a licensed contractor, many types of fireworks are illegal in Virginia
  • Fireworks are not allowed on federal lands
  • Check with your local fire marshal, fire officials, or law enforcement about restrictions on selling, possessing, or using any type of fireworks, including sparklers

According to Virginia law regarding permits for display of fireworks:

The governing bodies of the several counties, cities and towns shall have the power to provide for the issuance of permits for the display of fireworks by fair associations, amusement parks, or by any organization or group of individuals, under the minimum terms and conditions set forth in the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and any additional terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the locality. Any association, organization, or group that has been issued a permit may purchase and make use of fireworks under the terms and conditions of such permit.

Virginia Law § 15.2-974.

You can find a list of permissible fireworks for 2022 here.

Fireworks Safety

There are several ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones when shooting off fireworks. Below is a list of safety tips from the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Be Prepared

  • Purchase legal fireworks
  • Never make your own fireworks
  • Know the laws
  • Have a bucket of water nearby for used fireworks
  • Have a water hose or fire extinguisher to put out stray sparks
  • Clear a level area from things that can burn

Be Safe

  • Keep kids and pets at a safe distance away from igniting and spent fireworks
  • Set boundaries when lighting fireworks
  • Use eye protection or wear safety goggles
  • Use fireworks only outdoors and away from anything that can burn
  • Read and follow the directions on the label
  • Light one firework at a time and never relight a dud firework
  • Don’t shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers
  • Don’t carry them in your pocket
  • Do not use fireworks near woods or any combustible material
  • Use fireworks in parking lots, driveways, and gravel or dirt areas
  • Do not use fireworks under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances

Be Responsible

  • Clean up after you finish
  • If you have a firework that doesn’t light or fire, wait 15 minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water
  • Keep fireworks, matches, and lighters out of sight and reach of children
  • Before putting the fireworks in the trash, soak them in water