Birmingham reminds the community of fireworks safety and laws

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 27, 2023

 Birmingham’s Firework Ordinance outlines the limitations and guidelines for fireworks.

Birmingham’s Firework Ordinance outlines the limitations and guidelines for fireworks.

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BIRMINGHAM — As the Fourth of July approaches, the safety and laws governing fireworks should be deeply considered by anyone planning on celebrating the holiday, officials said.

Birmingham Fire Chief Paul Wells and Birmingham Police Department Operations Capt. Ryan Kearney spoke on what the city of Birmingham’s firework ordinance prohibits.

Under Michigan law, it is unlawful to discharge fireworks except on specific dates, which of course, includes the Fourth of July.

Specifically, fireworks are legal from 11 a.m.- 11:45 p.m. June 29-July 4, and on July 5 if it happens to be on a Friday or a Saturday, which this year doesn’t apply.

However, this does not mean residents are free to be reckless with their celebrations, officials said. Birmingham has established guidelines for discharging fireworks, which will result in a fine if broken.

According to Birmingham’s fortified fireworks ordinance that was adopted in November 2022, any airborne fireworks that go off in Birmingham will be investigated, and perpetrators will be issued a $500 fine if litter is found.

“Unfortunately, in a suburban area like Birmingham, the properties are so close together that it’s hard to find a spot where those wouldn’t litter and/or possibly damage private property,” Kearney said.

Litter from fireworks can damage public property or a neighbor’s property, as well as potentially cause a dangerous fire.

“Airborne fireworks being shot off in a city environment is way too dangerous,” Wells said.

While all airborne fireworks are not illegal if they are used safely in a space where no debris lands on any property not owned by the person setting off the fireworks, Wells does not think people should even consider using them in residential areas.

“We discourage them 100 percent,” Wells said. “We want people to go watch the fireworks shows on TV or go to events that are being put on by professionals.”

In addition to the possibility of a firework misfiring and hurting someone, there is a high probability of a fire involved with the use of airborne fireworks.

On the Fourth of July in 2019, there were two house fires in Birmingham that were caused by fireworks.

The rules set by the ordinance are designed to protect the people and property within Birmingham.

Wells said he is OK with the use of small, ground-based fireworks, such as fountains, as long as they are kept away from any combustible materials.

The fireworks ordinance prohibits anyone under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to discharge fireworks. Violators will be issued a fine.

“When you’re drinking, you don’t sometimes make the best decisions, and you definitely should not be lighting off explosives at that time, because too many things can go wrong,” Wells said.

Using fireworks somewhere on public or private property without permission from the owner can also result in a fine.

“People think they can just go out to parks or schools and that would be fine, but you have to have permission,” Kearney said.

To report a violation of the fireworks ordinance, people can call the Fire Department’s non-emergency number at (248) 530-1906.