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WHERE ARE FIREWORKS LEGAL ON THE 4TH OF JULY IN FLORIDA?

UPDATE/CORRECTION:  ESCAMBIA COUNTY ALSO HAS A PROHIBITION ORDINANCE

Contrary to my original post, it has now come to my attention that Escambia County (50-1 (c) ) also has an ordinance on the books prohibiting fireworks in the unincorporated County, which supersedes the Florida statute change from 2020.  In other words, fireworks that shoot or explode are still illegal in Escambia County as well as in the City of Pensacola and Santa Rosa parks.  The only legal place locally is Santa Rosa County outside of parks.  Noise ordinances still apply.

ORIGINAL (UPDATED)
WHERE ARE FIREWORKS LEGAL ON THE 4TH OF JULY?

By Andrew McKay 06/30/21

The short answer is they are only legal in Santa Rosa County outside of parks.  (UPDATED)

The long answer follows:

After the 2020 Florida Legislature enacted a statute permitting the use of fireworks during certain holidays (Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day) (FL 791.08), most people assumed this applied everywhere in the state.  However, this is not correct.

The 2020 ordinance does not pre-empt this subject to the state.  Moreover, it specifically protects the power of local governments to restrict fireworks and even specifies that pre-existing Homeowners Association covenants against them are still in effect.  So, it matters very much where you set off the fireworks whether they are legal on these three days.

Locally, the most important ordinances that restrict fireworks are in the City of Pensacola and Escambia County, where they are banned entirely year round (Escambia Sec 50-1 (c) and Pensacola Sec. 14-3-68). (UPDATED) Gulf Breeze and Milton do not have specific ordinances on the subject, so they are legal on the three holidays.  One exception is that Santa Rosa County specifically prohibits the use of fireworks in public parks and recreation areas (Santa Rosa Sec. 15-35 ). Another exception is that Santa Rosa County prohibits the “Public outdoor display of fireworks or pyrotechnics” near airports due to visual interference with flight operations (Santa Rosa Sec. 11.08.03 A 3).

This means firecrackers, roman candles, and bottle rockets, among other things, are only legal in Santa Rosa County on July 4, Dec 31, and Jan 1 outside of parks and near airports. (UPDATED)  HOWEVER…and this is important to remember, there are noise ordinances (including the new one in Santa Rosa County) that may apply even to an otherwise legal use of fireworks on these days.  These noise ordinances are still in effect.

Summary:
Unincorporated Escambia County:  Always illegal (UPDATED)
Escambia County Parks:  Always illegal
Unincorporated Santa Rosa County:  Legal July 4, Dec 31, and Jan 1
Santa Rosa County Parks:  Always illegal
City of Pensacola:  Always illegal
City of Gulf Breeze:  Legal July 4, Dec 31, and Jan
City of Milton:  Legal July 4, Dec 31 and Jan 1
Within Homeowners Associations:  Depends on your HOA

Escambia County, FL Article 1, Section 50-1 (c)

(c) Fireworks. The use or explosion of fireworks, as defined in F.S. (2006) § 791.01, is hereby prohibited within Escambia County. In addition, during a declared burn ban, use of incendiary devices otherwise exempted by F.S. § 791.01, including but not limited to sparklers, snakes or glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers, party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick match, cigarette loads and auto burglar alarms, is also prohibited.

City of Pensacola  Sec. 14-3-68. – Discharge of fireworks. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge or explode in or upon any street, public way or park within the city, or upon any private premises within the city, any fireworks of the character defined in section 14-3-67, unless the discharging or exploding be performed under the direction, supervision and control of the city and a permit has been issued by the city so to do; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall prohibit the use of what are commonly known as “sparklers” as defined in F.S. § 791.01(8).

State of Florida  791.08 Use during designated holidays; exemption.—
(1) As used in this section, the term “designated holiday” means:
(a) New Year’s Day, January 1;
(b) Independence Day, July 4; or
(c) New Year’s Eve, December 31.
(2) This chapter does not prohibit the use of fireworks solely and exclusively during a designated holiday. This section is not intended to provide for the comprehensive regulation of fireworks as described in s. 10(5), chapter 2007-67, Laws of Florida, or to supersede any local governmental regulation relating to the use of fireworks as provided in s. 10(5), chapter 2007-67, Laws of Florida.
(3) The Legislature does not intend for the application of this section to supersede any prohibition against the use of fireworks contained within a legally executed and properly recorded declaration of covenants or covenant running with the land of any homeowners’ association pursuant to chapter 720. However, a homeowners’ association, through a board of directors, may not promulgate rules that attempt to abrogate a homeowner’s right to use fireworks during a designated holiday or under general law.

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