Where you can and can’t shoot off fireworks

Local News
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Iowa law says you can use fireworks on private property from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 1 to July 8 and Dec. 10 through Jan. 3. That was passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by then-Governor Terry Branstad in 2017. Since then, many cities have passed their own ordinances on when and where you can let these sparks fly. We did the research for major cities in the metro, but first, let’s cover the definitions of fireworks under the Iowa Code of Law.

Definitions of fireworks:

Novelty: The most famous are snakes and sparklers. These fireworks have small amounts of pyrotechnic and/or explosive composition and produce limited noise and light. These are generally allowed in most cities.

Consumer: These are your roman candles and bottle rockets. They are separated into two subcategories: First Class and Second Class. Find more information on these here.

Display: These are only allowed with permission of a city council. They are the iconic, sparkling fireworks that you would find at a professional fireworks show.


Altoona residents are allowed to use novelty fireworks. The Altoona Police Department says you can purchase consumer fireworks, but use in city limits is prohibited. Display fireworks are allowed with council approval.


Consumer fireworks are not allowed to be set off within city limits. Display fireworks need a permit from the council. Novelty fireworks are allowed in accordance to Iowa Law.


Ankeny limits use of fireworks to the Fourth of July from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. This includes both classes of consumer fireworks. It’s limited to private property of the person lighting off the fireworks or if you have permission to fire them off of someone else’s property.

Des Moines

Des Moines residents can only use novelty fireworks within city limits. You’ll need a permit to set off display fireworks, and consumer fireworks are not allowed within city limits.


Like other cities, Johnston only allows novelty fireworks within city limits. Permits are needed for display fireworks. Consumer fireworks are illegal to set off in the city.

West Des Moines

Use of any fireworks other than novelties is prohibited within corporate limits of West Des Moines. Again, a permit is needed to light any display fireworks.

Didn’t see your city?

Check your local government’s website before setting off any fireworks. It is better to be safe than sorry this holiday! Many cities will give you a fine if they find you in violation of your city’s ordinance.

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