Madison's fireworks regulations tight

Few firecrackers allowed within city limits

Published On: Jun 28 2013 09:55:23 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 29 2013 11:53:45 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

While fireworks may be the first thing to come to mind during the Fourth of July, Madison ordinance strictly prohibits certain kinds of pyrotechnics within its city limits.

Travis Knight, manager at Cornellier Fireworks Tent in Fitchburg, has been selling fireworks for nearly a decade and knows the rules when it comes to pyrotechnics in Madison.

"I've liked fireworks since I was a young boy, so it was just a natural fit," he said. "Now I'm older, and I still love fireworks."

Madison Fire Department spokeswoman Bernadette Galvez explained that nearly all fireworks are prohibited within city limits.

“It's illegal if it goes up in the air or has a fuse,” Galvez said.

Only sparklers, snakes, caps and party poppers are allowed for use within Madison. Knight is required to sell his stock on the edge of town in neighboring suburbs, where firework regulations aren't as stringent.

"We're technically in Fitchburg, so that helps out a lot, since the Madison ordinance are fairly strict," Knight said. "In Fitchburg, you're allowed to use everything we have."

Hefty fines come with lighting off fireworks in Madison, costing an adult more than $300 for a first offense. That price reaches $400 for a second offense, according to Galvez. Even juveniles can be hit with a $114 fine if caught with the banned firecrackers.

Galvez said the reason behind Madison's tight control on fireworks is simply safety.

"During the 4th and surrounding the holiday, we get a lot of injuries because of fireworks," she said. "It's permanent damage for something that maybe lasts a second."

She suggests that instead of playing with fire, families leave the work to the professionals and attend one of the area's several pyrotechnics performances.