State Fire Marshal, Dan Wood, reminds you to do a little planning and takes some precautions before setting off any fireworks as you celebrate the nation’s birthday.

He says you should try to be 300 feet away from any structure, have a bucket of water nearby to put things out that you are using to light fireworks, and have a fire exstinguisher close by. Wood says local officials set the regulations and times for legally shooting off fireworks and you should check your location to be sure you are legal before lighting up any firework.

This is the third year that fireworks have been legal and many cities have adjusted their rules. Newton city leaders considered a total ban on fireworks this year before deciding to restrict their the size of fireworks. They also limited their use to between eigh p.m. and 11 p.m. today (July 4th).

Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik says the city council will be watching to see if the changes alleviate some of the compaints.
We’re urging people to follow the rules, make sure that if you want to continue to see fireworks be able to be used in the community — you’ve gotta follow the rules that are set out,” Wellik says.

Wellik says a few rule breakers could ruin the whole thing for everyone. For example, he says he saw people shooting off fireworks the other night behind the fire station. “That’s just the example that people are setting that’s gonna give council the ammunition to say ‘we are not going to allow that anymore, if you are not going to follow the rules, we are not going to allow it at all,” Wellik says.

A person who violates Newton’s fireworks regulations faces a fine of at least $250. Wellik says any fireworks that are allowed by state law can be used outside of the Newton city limits.