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Next week, public fireworks displays will light up the Des Moines skyline, but the Des Moines Police want to remind you that it is illegal for residents to ignite or explode consumer fireworks within the City of Des Moines.

Consumer fireworks are sold within the City of Des Moines because state law prohibits cities from restricting fireworks sales. However, the City of Des Moines has banned the use or explosions of consumer fireworks within City limits. Citations for consumer firework use carry a $625 fine. Those who set off fireworks may also be liable for paying the costs for any damage.

“The citation for using fireworks is a hefty price,” Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said. “We encourage residents to celebrate the Fourth of July at the public displays for the holiday. We hope people are considerate of their neighbors and celebrate safely.”

Fireworks have become a hazard in City Parks recently with 22 of the city’s 77 parks reporting damage last year. Some parks have already reported fireworks damage in 2023. In 2021, the Pete Crivaro Park Splash Pool was closed for an extended period for repairs after fireworks damaged the surfacing of the pool. Last year, staff used 137 hours of staff time cleaning up and fixing damage in the parks after fireworks damage during the Fourth of July holiday.

“There’s a real cost to people choosing to set off fireworks in our public parks,” Parks and Recreation Director Ben Page said. “It’s a huge disappointment when we’ve had facilities shut down and unavailable to the public due to fireworks damage. That’s resources taken away from the community because of selfish decisions of a few people setting off fireworks.”

Fireworks also cause significant fire safety concerns this year. Dry conditions combined with the density of trees and houses in Des Moines lead to increased fire risks this year.

“We’ve seen multiple residential fires in previous years that were traced back to fireworks use,” Des Moines Fire Marshal Jonathan Lund said. “Fireworks need a lot of space to be used safely, and combined with dry conditions, illegal fireworks use could put people in danger of serious fires.”

Residents are encouraged to celebrate the Fourth of July at public fireworks display listed at CatchDesMoines.com/Events.

2022 Fireworks Damage By The Numbers

22 parks with damage or excessive trash and fireworks debris
101 regular staff hours dedicated to clean up
36 overtime staff hours dedicated to clean up

Important to note:
2021 vandalism/damage/debris to Crivaro Splash Pool caused a multiday shut down, resulting in hundreds of children and families missing out on access to a free aquatics feature to beat the July heat.

Author: Press Release


  1. I would like to get a rational explanation why fireworks can be purchased in Iowa, but it is not legal to set them off. It is certainly one of the most abused laws at this time year.


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