June 29, 2009
From the desk of Sheriff Dryden
Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden would like to again remind everyone that contrary to public opinion, fireworks are a highly limited and strictly controlled commodity in Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin fireworks permits can only be issued to 1) a public authority; 2) a fire association; 3) an amusement park; 4) a park board; 5) a civic organization; 6) any individual or group of individuals; and 7) an agricultural producer for the protection of crops from predatory birds or animals. State law prohibits the issuance of permits to a minor.
We at the Sheriff's Office along with the Washburn County Fire Association and the Department of Natural Resources urges anyone wishing to have a fireworks display for the Fourth of July do so and in accordance with Wisconsin Statute 167.10(3). Anyone found in violation of using, possessing, transporting, or purchasing fireworks illegally will be issued a citation for $287.00. Any parent or guardian who consents to the use or possession of fireworks by a minor will be issued a citation for $574.00. In all cases the unused fireworks will be confiscated as evidence for further Court proceedings.
No permit required and no age restriction for the following: sparklers, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noise makers, and confetti poppers with less than a quarter gram of explosive mixture "unless restricted by local ordinances".
A valid permit is required for the following: all other fireworks, including roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars or basically "anything that leaves the ground and/or explodes". Minors can never be issued a fireworks permit. Must be 18 years of age.
At a minimum a fireworks permit must contain the following: 1) The date on and after the fireworks can be purchased. 2) The kind and quantity of fireworks which may be purchased. 3) Date authorized for the use of permitted fireworks. This must be a single date. An additional permit must be obtained if fireworks are to be fired on two or more separate occasions. 4) Location of permitted fireworks. This will be a physical address where the fireworks will be set off.
It is important to remember that should you be issued a legal fireworks permit and any fire is started because of these permits, you could be held responsible and accountable for paying the fire suppression costs.
The Washburn County Sheriff's Office will issue citations when appropriate for anyone purchasing, selling, transporting, possessing or using fireworks inconsistent with State Statute. This would include anyone who believes they have a legal permit issued to them by a mayor, village president or town chairperson when the issued permit is not consistent with State Statutes. It is important for those seeking a permit and for the town chairperson, city mayor or village president that they should issue a legal permit. Otherwise the permit holder is subject to a citation.
In closing, we at the Sheriff's Office do not enjoy issuing citations and ruining your Fourth of July celebrations. However, the illegal use of fireworks causes potential personal danger, fire hazard, and disturbance to neighbors requiring us to enforce fireworks regulations.
Sheriff Terry Dryden
Washburn County Sheriff's Office
"From the Desk of Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden"
NEWS RELEASE Date: May 14, 2008
RE: FIREWORKS AND NEW FIREWORKS LEGISLATION
The Washburn County Sheriff's Office does not enjoy issuing citations for the illegal possession or use of fireworks. However, the increasing calls and personal danger, fire hazards, and the disturbances to neighbors that the use of fireworks causes, require the Washburn County Sheriff's Office to enforce the fireworks' regulations. The penalty for violation of the Wisconsin Statutes 167.10(3) can be forfeiture up to $1,000. Anyone found in violation of using, possessing, transporting, or purchasing fireworks illegally, would be issued a citation for $287. Any parent or guardian, who consents to the use or possession of fireworks by a minor, will be issued a citation for $574. In all cases the unused fireworks will be confiscated as evidence for further court proceedings.
Washburn County law enforcement, Washburn County Fire Association, Fire Departments and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have dealt with the significant issues surrounding the illegal use, possession, transporting, and or purchasing of illegal fireworks. The larger fireworks displays such as Shell Lake's, Spooner's Fourth of July, the County Fair and Minong's Summer's Days are not the problem for law enforcement or fire departments. These are handled well, properly permitted, and have the appropriate fire prevention on site. Our more significant problems and disturbances are mainly from folks that think that they can just light up their fireworks without any regards for their neighbors, safety, the potential for fires and the law. Contrary to public opinion and even with the new changes in the law fireworks are a highly limited and strictly controlled commodity in Wisconsin. Confusion over specifics of this law and the expertise in the field has led to widespread misunderstanding of the law. When enforced consistently and clearly and with the cooperation of city, town and village officials, the law regarding the possession, sale and use of fireworks can be used to assure safe and happy summer celebrations.
NO PERMIT REQUIRED AND NO AGE RESTRICTION FOR THE FOLLOWING: Sparklers, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noise makers and confetti poppers with less than a quarter gram of explosive mixture, "unless restricted by local ordinances".
VALID PERMIT REQUIRED FOR THE FOLLOWING: All other fireworks, including roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars or basically "anything that leaves the ground and or explodes". Minors can never be issued a fireworks permit, must be 18 years of age.
NEW LAW: A PERMIT CAN NOW BE ISSUED TO ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS. If you would like to purchase and use fireworks, you can receive a permit from a city mayor, village president or town chairperson, however, they have the right to deny issuing any fireworks permit in their jurisdiction. The city mayor, village president or town chairperson can only issue fireworks permits to the following: 1) a public authority, 2) a fire association, 3) an amusement park, 4) a park board, 5) a civic organization, 6) any individual or group of individuals, and 7) an agriculture producer for the protection of crops from predatory birds or animals. This state law prohibits the issuing of permits to a minor.
NEW LAW: Nonresident's can now purchase fireworks in Wisconsin without a permit. However, if you are a Wisconsin resident you are PROHIBITED from purchasing fireworks in Wisconsin without first being issued a permit. The nonresident cannot use fireworks in Wisconsin without a permit. Before you call and ask me, I opposed this legislation, however, the legislators passed it in the last budget bill. This legislation and the "individual" language as well, will increase our fireworks complaints.
It is important for those seeking and giving permits that the permit must be "legal" and sufficient and must adhere to the Wisconsin Statutes in regards to what a legal permit must contain. All municipalities in Washburn County have received a letter from me and template for fireworks permits, which I believe legal and sufficient to be issued for fireworks display. However, you must make sure that the permit is sufficient and legal, otherwise, if law enforcement comes to your residence on a complaint of fireworks and we find that the permit does not adhere to state statutes, a citation will be issued for the use and or possession of illegal fireworks. So, it is the municipality's and your responsibility to ensure that you have a legal fireworks permit in your possession.
A fireworks permit must contain at the minimum the following:
•Ø The date on and after that the fireworks can be purchased. It is important for you to remember that a Wisconsin resident cannot purchase fireworks in this state contrary to state statute prior to receiving a legal permit. (NOTE: A change in the law by your legislators now allows a nonresident to purchase fireworks in Wisconsin without a permit, however they cannot use fireworks without a permit. Those of you, who are Wisconsin residents, who purchase fireworks and then show up at your municipality or chairperson and then ask for a permit, can be cited. Fireworks can be purchased anywhere in this State and the possession of the fireworks is allowed under this permit, while the permit holder is transporting the permitted fireworks to the city, town or village for the possession and use is authorized by this permit. However, the permit holder must take the most reasonable and direct route between the location of purchase and location of permitted use of fireworks indicated on the permit. Remaining in a non-permitted city, village or town for more than 12 hours means that you are no longer transporting the permitted fireworks and you are subject to a citation.
•Ø The kind and quantity of fireworks, which may be purchase. You, as the requestor of the fireworks permit, must list the fireworks that you are going to purchase. If you are found with fireworks or using fireworks that are not listed on this permit, you will be cited for illegal use and possession of fireworks.
•Ø Date authorized for the use of permitted fireworks.
•Ø Location of permitted fireworks. This would be a physical address, which is very important to list on the permit and will be required by your municipality.
It is also important for you to remember that should you be issued a legal fireworks permit and any forest fire is started because of those permits, you could be held responsible and accountable for paying the fire suppression costs.
Citations will be issued when appropriate for anyone purchasing, selling, transporting, possessing or using fireworks inconsistent with state statute. This will include anyone who believes they have a legal permit issued to them by a mayor, village president or town chairperson when the issued permit is not consistent with state statutes.
In closing, let me again say, that we are not overjoyed with the task of issuing citations for illegal fireworks and or the disturbances they cause. We will, however, respond to those who call in and report any and all disturbances in relationship to fireworks, legal or illegal. The dangers associated with the use of fireworks, such as personal injury, fires and property damage, require that my deputies respond when time permits and take the proper enforcement action.
WASHBURN COUNTY SHERIFF OFFICE
Terry Dryden, Sheriff