No, fireworks are not allowed in any national forest or national grassland. Currently, each national forest and grassland is covered under one or more “forest orders” specifically banning fireworks and other types of explosives, and will continue to be covered for an indefinite period.
Are Fireworks Permitted in National Forests?
Currently, there is a ban on fireworks and explosives in every national forest and national grassland throughout the United States.
However, this is not a single nationwide ban. It is individually banned either by each forest and grassland, or by a forest service region. A forest service region is an administrative branch that governs multiple forests and grasslands together.
The way the U.S. Forest Service regulations are written, a ban on fireworks can only exist if served by a forest order…
When provided by an order, the following are prohibited: Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device.CFR 36 § 261.52 Fire (f)
Fireworks Are Banned Through the Issuance of Forest Orders
The regulation quoted above requires that a “forest order” be issued in order to prohibit fireworks. As of today, numerous forest orders have been issued covering every forest unit within the U.S. Forest Service…
- USFS Northern Region, Forest Order #R1-2022-01, (covering 10 forest units in WA, ID, MT, ND, and SD, Effective January 1, 2022, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Rocky Mountain Region, Forest Order #R02-2021-01, (covering 25 forest units in CO, KS, NE, SD, and WY), Effective May 17, 2021, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Southwestern Region, Forest Order #03-00-23-001, (covering 15 forest units in AZ, NM, OK, and TX), Effective June 1, 2023, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Intermountain Region, Forest Order #04-2021-01, (covering 19 forest units in CA, CO, ID, NV, UT, and WY), Effective July 12, 2021, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Pacific Southwest Region, Forest Order #22-02, (covering 18 forest units in CA, HI, and Pacific Islands), Effective June 24, 2022, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Pacific Northwest Region, Forest Order #06-00-00-22-01, (covering 23 forest units in CA, OR, WA, and ID), Effective June 22, 2022, bans fireworks in all areas.
- USFS Southern Region, (covering 16 forest units in OK, TX, AR, LA, MS, KY, TN, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, and VA), each specific forest unit issues its own forest orders, and every forest unit currently bans fireworks.
- USFS Eastern Region, (covering 17 forest units in CT, DE, IL, IN, IA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, WV, and WI), each specific forest unit issues its own forest orders, and every forest unit currently bans fireworks.
- USFS Alaska Region, (covering 2 forest units in AK), each specific forest unit issues its own forest orders, and every forest unit currently bans fireworks.
Each Forest and Grassland Issues Additional Fireworks Bans
Even though most national forests and grasslands in the western half of the United States have fireworks bans covered through a regional body, many individual forest units will still adopt their own bans, or post their own notices.
- These notices will always appear on kiosks in campgrounds, trailheads, and visitor centers.
- Each forest unit will post their own notices and orders on their own website. (Visit the USFS National Website, then drill down to a specific forest)
What is the Punishment for Violating the Fireworks Ban?
Currently, the punishment for violating the fireworks ban in a national forest is specified in the Code of Federal Regulations…
Any violation of the prohibitions of this part (261) shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both pursuant to title 16 U.S.C., section 551, unless otherwise provided.36 CFR § 261.1b – Penalty.
However, this is ONLY the punishment for possessing or igniting a firework. If you end up starting a wildfire, there are additional penalties based on damage to the environment, structures, private property, injury and/or death to other individuals, and it’s possible you may also be liable for the cost of fire suppression efforts.