Fireworks on the Outer Banks: What’s legal and what’s not

Let’s talk fireworks. They’re a beach tradition as ingrained building sandcastles and chasing ghost crabs. But any firework that leaves the ground is illegal in Dare County. And in some towns, all fireworks are illegal, sparklers and coiling snakes included.

In Dare County, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, the local ordinances follow North Carolina law, banning bottle rocks and mortars and anything that leaves the ground or has a report or “bang.” Pyrotechnics, commonly known as “safe and sane” fireworks, are the only ones allowed in North Carolina. They include caps, snakes and glow worms, smoke devices, trick noise makers, sparklers and other sparkling devices such as fountains.

Anyone violating the fireworks ordinance faces a Class 3 misdemeanor, a mandatory court appearance and $250 fine. But the law appears to be rarely enforced.

In Duck, the sale of fireworks is permitted, but the use of all fireworks – including sparkers, smoke bombs, snake pellets and the like, is prohibited. Southern Shores, Nags Head and Cape Hatteras National Seashore also prohibit all fireworks of any kind.

The town of Manteo’s law prohibits the “shooting of firecrackers, sky rockets, Roman candles or other fireworks of any description is permitted within the town limits by any person.”

Fireworks might be fun, but they’re dangerous, Dare County officials say.

“The National Fire Protection Association reports nearly 17,800 fires occur annually due to fireworks, involving 1,200 homes and nearly 400 vehicles; these fires account for nearly $32 million dollars in damage,” the county website reads. “These devices also cause nearly 9,600 injuries each year. Did you know that the tip of a lit sparkler can reach 1,200 degrees?”

It’s been dry along the Outer Banks lately, so the chance of a stray spark causing a fire isn’t unlikely. It happened last month in Kill Devil Hills.

The week of the Fourth of July holiday is also a tough time for veterans and pets. Fireworks are a known trigger for PTSD. And more pets go missing during this holiday week than any other time of year.

Tonight there are professional fireworks across the Outer Banks, from Corolla to Hatteras. Click here for the details.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.