People in Southcentral Alaska who want to set off fireworks to celebrate this New Year’s Eve on Saturday night will need to check their location.
Generally, personal fireworks are banned everywhere this weekend except the City of Kenai and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which is also home to the only legal fireworks sellers in the region: the stands along the Parks Highway past the Big Lake cutoff and just inside Houston city limits.
Personal fireworks will be permitted throughout the Matanuska-Susitna Borough from Saturday evening until early Sunday. The City of Kenai allows them during a 48-hour window Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 for people over 18 on their own private property or with permission of the property owner.
Fireworks are normally prohibited throughout Mat-Su during the rest of the year, aside from the Fourth of July in the city of Houston. Palmer and Wasilla have separate city laws pertaining to firework use, but both allow it on New Year’s Eve.
Throughout the borough and in Wasilla, personal-use pyrotechnics will be allowed from 6 p.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday. In Palmer, fireworks will be allowed from 9 p.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday
Fireworks must be used on private property with permission from the property owner and supervision from a person over 21.
Samantha Bouma, a manager at Gorilla Fireworks, said the key to safe personal fireworks is “sober adult responsible supervision.”
“We just ask everybody to be a good neighbor,” Bouma said. “Have fun and be done by 1.”
Large fireworks displays for New Year’s Eve are slated to take place in Anchorage, Eagle River, Girdwood and Wasilla.
Personal firework use was suspended statewide this summer due to extreme fire danger.
Fireworks can be frightening for many animals. Anchorage Animal Care and Control generally receives an increased number of stray animals around the time of firework displays because animals may run away during the shows, said Patricia Vannatter, a spokeswoman for the department.
To keep pets safe, Vannatter recommended bringing them inside before firework shows begin, placing them in a soundproof room if possible, or turning on a fan or television to create background noise and block out the sound of fireworks. It’s important to make sure pets have updated contact information with their microchips, and municipal pet licensing can help owners reunite with lost pets faster, she said.
Vannatter urged anyone who loses or finds a pet to contact Animal Care and Control at 907-343-8122 to file a report. The shelter will be closed on New Year’s Day.