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Alaska Life

Here’s where Alaskans can and can’t have a personal fireworks show

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: July 5
  • Published June 30, 2017

Fireworks burst over the boat harbor in Seward at midnight on July 4, 2015. Hundreds of campers and visitors gathered to watch on the shoreline. (Marc Lester/ADN)

Editor's note: This story has been updated for 2018. Whittier is the only local government with a change in firework laws; take a look below.

Thinking about buying some fireworks and blasting them off into the Alaska skies to celebrate July 4?

If you live in Southcentral, you might want to think again. In some places, the personal pyrotechnic show could leave you with a sizable fine.

As of July 2018, here's a breakdown on where personal fireworks are legal and where they're not.

State land: Illegal 

Use of fireworks on "forested state land," (meaning all land except bodies of water), both private and public, is illegal during fire season, from April 1 to Aug. 31.

Anchorage: Illegal

Fireworks — including sparklers — are illegal in the Municipality of Anchorage, including Eagle River and Girdwood, and the "possession, use or sale of fireworks is strictly prohibited," according to municipal code.

Penalties for the illegal use of fireworks include confiscation and a $300 fine.

Mat-Su Borough: Illegal except on private land in Houston

Fireworks are prohibited by the Mat-Su Borough, including in the cities of Palmer and Wasilla. Penalties for the illegal use of fireworks include fines of up to $500 per violation, according to borough law.

People can use fireworks on private land in Houston with permission from the landowner, however.

Fireworks are prohibited by state law in Houston when the Alaska Division of Forestry issues a burn ban, according to the borough. The division had not issued any burn bans by Tuesday (a burn permit suspension was issued in the Mat-Su that does not affect Houston fireworks, according to Christian Hartley, fire chief for the city of Houston). You can check the latest burn bans here.

Kenai Peninsula Borough: Illegal

The use and sale of fireworks is prohibited by the borough, which covers all unincorporated areas like Hope, Kasilof, Sterling, Cooper Landing and many other communities. Incorporated cities have their own rules; Homer, Kachemak, Seldovia and Soldotna ban fireworks. Kenai allows fireworks only on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Seward is currently dealing with fireworks through its noise ordinance and strongly discourages any use within the city.

Valdez: Temporarily legal

Valdez city law makes the use of fireworks legal from 10 p.m. July 3 until the end of July 4.

Cordova: Illegal

Fireworks are banned in the city without a permit, but sparklers are allowed under city law.

Whittier: Illegal

Fireworks are not allowed in Whittier this 4th of July, according to city officials, due to dry and dusty weather that has increased fire danger.

Reporter Laurel Andrews and editor Egan Millard contributed to this report.

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