Northwest Iowa — Independence Day is a little more than three weeks away. Many people are thinking about fireworks. The Iowa Legislature made fireworks legal in the state in 2017. They had been illegal since a fire in Spencer in the 1930’s that was traced back to fireworks accidentally being set off in a store.
The state law, as it applies to the discharge of fireworks states that consumer fireworks may only be used between June 1st and July 8th (There is also a winter season around New Years). It also limits the hours of use to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except that the hours are extended to 11 p.m on July 4th and the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following July 4th. The law also says that you may use fireworks only on your own property or the property of someone who has consented to fireworks being used on their property. There are also several stipulations on the sale of fireworks.
Some cities have enacted stricter rules, however.
The Sheldon City Code says they may only be shot off June 20th through July 5th, for the summer season. The hours in which consumer fireworks may be used in Sheldon is between noon and 10:00 p.m., except for July 4th, when the hours are extended to noon to 11:00 p.m. The only fireworks that you can set off on public property in Sheldon are basically sparklers and snakes and you have to pick up and dispose of any debris safely afterward. You need to be at least 18; you may not light fireworks while you’re under the influence, or in a reckless manner. Click here for the Sheldon ordinance.
The Sibley City ordinance basically dovetails with the state law and has the same stipulations. The summer season runs from June 1st through July 8th. Click here for the Sibley ordinance.
The Rock Rapids fireworks ordinance says fireworks may only be discharged from June 29 through July 7th. There are no extended hours on weekends, however like the state law has. Click here for the Rock Rapids Ordinance.
In Rock Valley and Sanborn, both their ordinances state that fireworks may be discharged from June 15th through July 8th with the same times of day as the state law, except no extended hours are included on the weekends before or after the holidays. Click here for the Rock Valley ordinance. Click here for the Sanborn ordinance.
In Orange City, the dates of use are the same as the state law (June 1st through July 8th), but the dates with extended times do not include the weekends before and after the holiday, and only include the holiday itself. Orange City’s ordinance also talks about open-flame sky lanterns and that they are prohibited unless the lantern has a tether and is under control. Find a copy of the Orange City ordinance here.
Use of fireworks is allowed in Sioux Center from June 13th through July 8th. The city will follow the state law regarding the times of day during which fireworks are allowed. Click here for the Sioux Center ordinance
In Hull, there is not a separate ordinance. City officials tell us the state law applies in Hull.
Except for towns that only allow sparklers and snakes — such as Spencer — the most restrictive fireworks ordinance date-wise is that of Primghar, where it’s only legal to use fireworks on July 3rd and 4th from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Click here for the Primghar ordinance.
Make sure you know the rules in the community or county in which you plan to set off fireworks. And as always, be safe.
Summary of Fireworks Dates
State Law — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Hull — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Orange City — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Primghar — July 3 through July 4; 2 days
Rock Rapids — June 29 through July 7; 9 days
Rock Valley — June 15 through July 8; 24 days
Sanborn — June 15 through July 8; 24 days
Sheldon — June 20 through July 5; 16 days
Sibley — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Sioux Center — June 13 through July 8; 26 days