July 2021 Fireworks: What’s Legal, What’s Not in Illinois


ILLINOIS — With July 4 fast approaching, many local police departments are reminding residents to leave the fireworks to the professionals or face hefty fines. With the exception of most novelty items, fireworks are illegal to buy or use in the state of Illinois, and efforts to legalize them in the state have failed.

Although each city has its own fireworks ordinance, the state fire marshal is clear when it comes to pyrotechnics: leave it to the professionals.

For individuals, community groups, and organizations that sponsor fireworks in Illinois, it is important to ensure that fireworks vendors have the required state licenses and certificates issued by the Department of Illinois Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) before the scheduled fireworks.


Illinois explosives law requires anyone who purchases, possesses, uses, transfers, stores, or disposes of explosives, including fireworks, to have an explosives license and storage certificate. explosives issued by the IDNR.

Licensing and storage requirements administered by the IDNR do not apply to consumer fireworks

The dangers of fireworks, explosives

In 2020, 89 hospitals in Illinois reported treating 163 patients with fireworks-related injuries – an increase from 2019, when 56 hospitals reported admitting 143 patients with fireworks-related injuries .

There were no fireworks-related deaths in 2020, but one A 53-year-old Chicago man was killed in a fireworks accident the year before.

In 2017, a 42-year-old man was killed on the South West Side when fireworks he was checking exploded in his face. Police said the man was holding a fireworks display for the children when he lit a tube designed to shoot pyrotechnics up to 50ft in the air. But the fireworks didn’t go off as expected, and as the man leaned over to inspect the tube, they burst into flames and hit him in the face.

Fireworks injuries

Of the 163 Illinois residents injured by fireworks in 2020, the state fire marshal said 120 were male. More than half, or 59%, were over 22 years old. The number of children aged 11 to 16 who were injured nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020, from 12 to 23, according to the fire marshal.

These types of fireworks were listed as a cause of injury in Illinois last year:

  • Mortars: 26%
  • Unknown: 20%
  • Sparklers: 12%
  • Roman candles: 10%
  • Bottle rockets: 9%
  • Salutes: 6%
  • Portable fireworks: 4%
  • Firecrackers: 4%
  • Homemade appliances: 4%

More than 50% of injuries from fireworks in 2020 involved the hands and fingers. Dismemberment/amputation injuries increased to 19 from 12 the previous year, and two people lost their sight due to fireworks injuries in 2020.


Other fireworks-related injuries in Illinois:

  • Second degree burns: 27%
  • Abrasions and lacerations: 22%
  • First degree burns: 20%
  • Head/face injuries: 13%
  • Leg injuries: 13%
  • Third degree burns: 3%
  • Loss of sight: 1%

What fireworks are illegal in Illinois?

In Illinois, prohibited fireworks include, but are not limited to:

  • Hand held fireworks
  • Bottle rockets
  • Firecrackers of any size or type
  • sky rockets
  • Roman candles
  • Hunters
  • buzz bombs
  • Ground items other than those identified as consumer-approved fireworks
  • Helicopters
  • missiles
  • Spindle wheels or any other viring device, whether on the ground or mounted above the ground
  • planes
  • Sky Lanterns, the type of balloon that requires fire below to propel them

What is legal?

The fireworks you can buy and use in Illinois – unless you’re a professional with a license – are quite limited. Some novelty fireworks are unregulated, meaning the sale and use of these items is permitted, but under the Pyrotechnics Use Act, municipalities have the power to prohibit the sale and the use of sparklers on public property.

According to the state fire marshal, authorized novelties include:

  • pellets for snakes or glow worms;
  • smoke apparatus;
  • trick noisemakers known as “party poppers”, “booby traps”, “snappers”, “trick matches”, “cigarette loads” and “car burglars;”
  • sparklers;
  • toy guns, toy canes, toy pistols or other devices in which paper or plastic caps containing twenty-five hundredths of a grain or less of explosive compound are used, provided they are constructed so that the hand cannot not come into contact with the cap when it is in place for the explosion; and
  • paper or plastic toy guns containing less than twenty hundredths of a grain of explosive mixture.


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