Weekly News article published: by the Central OfficeMADISON - People planning on camping in a Wisconsin state park or forest for the Fourth of July should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities - not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks and forests.
Fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests, according to Jason Fritz, chief ranger for the Wisconsin State Parks program.
"For the safety of our guests and our resources, our rangers strictly enforce the no fireworks laws," Fritz said. "Fourth of July favorites, the sparkler and the snake, are not defined as 'fireworks' per Wisconsin state law, but most park and forest rangers and superintendents would rather not see them at all because they are a fire hazard."
A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost the lawbreaker up to $200 and parents could be liable for the full costs of putting out a fire started by their children playing with or setting off fireworks.
In fact, anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out but also for any damages, notes Catherine Koele, forest fire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.
Fireworks can start wildfires. In 2013, DNR records show 435 fires have burned more than 8,100 acres in DNR fire protection areas of Wisconsin. Wildfires caused by fireworks only amount to five percent of the annual total, however, these fires typically occur in a condensed timeframe around the Fourth of July holiday.
More information on fireworks and fire danger is available in a "Fireworks cause forest fires and more... [PDF]" brochure available for download from the DNR website.