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North Carolina 4th of July Celebrations – What Fireworks Are Allowed in North Carolina?

by | Jul 2, 2021 | Catastrophic Injuries, Personal Injury

North Carolina 4th of July Celebrations – What Fireworks Are Allowed in North Carolina?  

As Independence Day approaches, many people in Iredell County, North Carolina, and across the country purchase fireworks to celebrate the occasion. Fireworks are heavily restricted because fireworks can cause severe burns, injuries, and fires.1 Before you go to a fireworks store, here are the legal rules and regulations in North Carolina you need to know about.   

In North Carolina, all fireworks, defined as pyrotechnics, are illegal unless they meet an exception under the law. 2 

The following fireworks meet an exception and therefore MAY be legally purchased and used in Mooresville: 

  • Snakes 
  • Glow worms 
  • Flares 
  • Tube or sphere smoke devices that produce white or colored smoke 
  • Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, string poppers, and snappers 
  • Wire sparklers and other sparklers that do not explode or spin 
  • Fountains, pharaoh’s serpents, pinwheels, whirligigs 3 
  • Any novelty item that does not explode, fly, spin, or leave the ground 4 


The following fireworks do NOT meet an exception to the rule against pyrotechnics and MAY NOT be legally purchased and used in Iredell County: 

  • Roman Candles 
  • Fireworks and Aerial Fireworks 
  • Sky Rockets or mortars 
  • Bottle Rockets 
  • Firecrackers 
  • Cherry Bombs 
  • Helicopters 
  • Palomitas 
  • M-80s and M-100s 
  • Any other fireworks that explode or fly. 5+


If you are planning an event with fireworks in North Carolina and would like to use fireworks that are illegal for general use, you will need to submit this 6 special use permit application to Iredell County Fire Marshall’s Office. 7  For those outside of Iredell County, check with your local Fire Marshall’s office and review their local rules, regulations, and permitting requirements. The sale of fireworks, even legal ones such as wire sparklers, to minors under the age of 16 is strictly illegal in North Carolina. 8 Any violation of these laws is a misdemeanor. 9 


 Children are especially at risk for injuries caused by fireworks. Half of all those injured by fireworks each year are children under the age of 15. 10 In 2017, 12,000 people across the country were injured in fireworks-related incidents, with two thirds of those injuries occurring from June 16 to July 16.11 Besides causing bodily injuries, fireworks (even those lit under proper supervision and conditions) can start fires. In 2018, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires across the country.12 


Here are some safety tips from the Iredell County Fire Marshall’s Office to help avoid violating any North Carolina or Iredell County rules, prevent fires from starting, and reduce the risk of injuries when using and setting off fireworks: 13  

  • Only use fireworks outdoors, on a smooth and flat surface such as a parking lot or driveway 
  • Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly 
  • Light fireworks at a safe distance from spectators 
  • Have a bucket of water, water hose, or fire extinguisher ready in case a fire starts 
  • Have a responsible adult supervise fireworks activities 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people, buildings, or animals 
  • Never re-light or attempt to fix malfunctioning fireworks 
  • Never allow children to play with fireworks 14 


Some additional general safety strategies for fireworks include: 

  • Only use fireworks as intended 
  • Never alter or combine fireworks 
  • Use safety glasses when lighting fireworks 
  • Avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket 
  • Avoid lighting fireworks while intoxicated 
  • Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives  
  • Never hold fireworks while lighting that are not meant to be held 15 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at brush, leaves, or other flammable substances 16 


Ordering fireworks online is permitted by North Carolina  law which allows common carriers to receive, transfer, and deliver fireworks in the regular course of its business, as long as the fireworks you have ordered are legal in the state.17 


Fireworks are a fun way to cap off your Independence Day celebrations, but they can also lead to serious legal trouble. Take the case of State of North Carolina v. Wolfe.18 A man and his nephew went to the rear of his friend’s building and threw “silver salute” sparklers, followed by a “firecracker fountain” onto his friend’s deck as a prank and drove off. The apartment quickly caught fire, and while no lives were lost, repairs to the building and lost belongings were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.19 Both men spent over a year in jail. 20  


If you are in need of legal assistance, only an attorney can give personalized legal advice that applies to your specific situation. Fireworks can lead to a variety of legal issues, from misdemeanor criminal charges to personal injuries and property damage. If you have been injured or your property has been damaged by fireworks in Iredell County and the surrounding area, Grimes Yeoman has decades of experience with Personal Injury and property damage claims and is here to help you. Call (704)-321-4878 or contact us through our website, we are here to help!