NC Fireworks laws

North Carolina’s fireworks laws are pretty restrictive. South Carolina, does have much more inclusive laws, though, and many people travel over the border to get their annual fireworks.Remember, many fireworks you purchase across the border are not legal in North Carolina, so use them at your own risk.

Fireworks that are legal in North Carolina include poppers, sparklers, fountains and other novelty items that don’t explode, spin, leave the ground or fly through the air. These can include:

  • snake and glow worms,
  • smoke devices,
  • noisemakers like snappers and string poppers and
  • wire sparklers.

Illegal Fireworks in North Carolina
Fireworks that are illegal in North Carolina include firecrackers, ones that spin on the ground, roman candles, bottle rockets, or any aerial fireworks.

Essentially, any firework that leaves the ground is not legal in North Carolina.

North Carolina Fireworks Permits
State law requires that anyone shooting indoor or outdoor fireworks must submit an application to the State Fire Marshal, attend a safety class, and pass a written exam. Contact the NCDOI for more details.

Violators of the state’s fireworks law face a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by a fine up to $500 and or imprisonment of up to six months.

You must be 18 years old to legally buy fireworks in North Carolina. The age of fireworks purchase is 16 in South Carolina.

Fireworks Safety
The majority of injuries annually from fireworks though are from smaller devices, like fountains and sparklers. Here are some tips for safety:

  • Buy from reliable fireworks vendors Never alter fireworks or try to make your own,
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks
  • Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults.
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency
  • Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly, if a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again
  • Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees and other vegetation

Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container


Fireworks can traumatize pets. The safest place for your pet on the Fourth of July is at home.

Creating a space at home where pets feel safe and comfortable might include bringing their beds into a laundry room, bathroom or someplace with no windows so they don’t see or hear fireworks.

Keep your pets indoors. Keep the window shades pulled. Make sure they have some other noise like a television or radio.

If your pet is loose in the house, be vigilant when opening outside doors since fireworks can turn animals into escape artists.

If you haven’t already, you also might consider having your pet microchipped.

David Wheeler for NC Senate District 47