The City of La Crosse would really like it if people didn’t use illegal fireworks.
The fine for doing so this year is up significantly, to $502, plus court fees. Before that, it was $124.
Illegal fireworks are ones that explode or leave the ground.
La Crosse Municipal Judge, Dennis Marcou, granted the city’s request to raise the fine this year, Mayor Mitch Reynolds said on WIZM. For those who are caught doing so, Reynolds added they should not expect to get off with a warning.
“My guess is that when they come in front of him with that ticket, that you’re gonna have to pay it,” Reynolds told the La Crosse Talk PM audience.
The reasoning is pretty simple in that fireworks are hurting people — and pets — both physically and mentally.
“We just had so many different stories,” Reynolds said. “People calling up talking about their dogs and talking about those who had children who are autistic or folks who suffer from PTSD, or just any sort of issue where people had problems with the sudden sounds. The things that fireworks are, essentially.”
Increasing the penalty was one of the ways the city could combat the use of illegal fireworks, which Reynolds said was getting a bit out of control.
“We were looking at — way back in the wintertime — looking at how we could make changes to our code so that we could have some better enforcement teeth,” he said. “Just because it turned into basically — I mean, it wasn’t a war zone — but there was a lot of illegal firework usage last summer, around the 4th of July, especially.”
In 2021, La Crosse Police responded to 251 calls involving fireworks. For those who do call police over fireworks, they will ask you provide as much information as possible in order to help officers responding to educate and enforce those complaints. That may also include a follow-up from police when needed.
The city also put up a resource page with information on the harm fireworks cause.
This law exists because illegal fireworks are dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2018 an estimated 19,500 fires in the United States were started by fireworks. These fires caused over $105 million in direct property damages. Over 9,000 people sustained injuries from fireworks in 2018 and many of these injuries were gruesome injuries to hands, eyes, face and head.”
Outside the city, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also reminds folks that fireworks are not allowed on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, due to their disturbance to wildlife and the litter they leave behind.
The Refuge includes most islands and beaches on the Mississippi River — from
Wabasha, Minn., to Rock Island, Ill. Click here for a map of the refuge.
The fine for possession and use of fireworks in the refuge is $225. Federal law enforcement officers will be patrolling the refuge looking for fireworks, as well as glass bottles, which are also banned. The fine for having glass bottles is $175.