New Year’s revelers note: Most fireworks illegal in DC area

Thinking of ringing in the new year and saying goodbye to 2020 with some backyard fireworks? Before you do, you should know that most consumer fireworks are prohibited in the D.C. region.

The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 such a difficult year that people expect to welcome the new year with intense enthusiasm and great relief. But take note, even sparklers are not allowed in some places.

Any fireworks that explode, including firecrackers, cherry bombs, salutes and Roman candles, are illegal in D.C. and all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.

In the District, sparklers under 20 inches are permitted, and so are ground sparklers — including box fires and fountains.

However, all sparklers — both handheld and ground-based –are banned in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.

Handheld sparklers are legal in Howard and Charles counties. Handheld and ground-based sparklers are also permitted in Anne Arundel, Calvert and Frederick counties, as long as they are non-aerial and nonexplosive.

In Virginia, handheld and ground-based sparklers are banned within the city limits of Alexandria.

Handheld and ground-based sparklers, such as fountains and pinwheels commonly known as whirligigs or spinning jennies, are legal in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Fauquier, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, as well as Fredericksburg, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Violating county or city ordinances against the use of fireworks can bring serious trouble.

Potential penalties for using illegal fireworks range from a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in prison in the City of Alexandria.

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