Are Fireworks Legal in Colorado?

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Colorado fireworks laws vary depending on your city or county. In some areas, such as Denver, fireworks are totally illegal. In other parts of Colorado, certain types of fireworks are legal--but most are not

The illegal use of fireworks in Colorado can cost you $1,000 or land you in jail for a year. You could end up with a criminal record -- just for being patriotic.

To help you better understand Colorado's fireworks laws, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

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1. What fireworks are illegal in Colorado?

Fireworks that explode or leave the ground are illegal everywhere in Colorado. These include fireworks purchased in neighboring states (such as Wyoming).

Illegal fireworks in Colorado include (but are not limited to):

  • firecrackers, 
  • cherry bombs, 
  • bottle rockets, 
  • mortars, 
  • M-80's, and 
  • Roman candles.

And even fireworks that are otherwise legal under Colorado state law are prohibited in:

2. Fireworks that are legal in Colorado

Where permissible under local law, legal fireworks in Colorado consist of small devices that produce audible or visual effects (but not explosion) through combustion. Each class of permissible fireworks has a different upper limit on the maximum amount of explosive material a device may contain. However, no home fireworks device may contain more than 50 milligrams of explosive composition.

If permitted under local law, legal fireworks in Colorado include the following:

  • fountains,
  • toy caps, 
  • snake or glow worms, 
  • ground spinners, 
  • illuminating torches, 
  • dipped sticks and sparklers, 
  • toy propellants, 
  • noise makers that crackle or whistle (but don't explode), and
  • certain tube devices.1

Local regulations vary by location and from year to year, depending on drought conditions. Accordingly, it is best to check with your local law enforcement agency or fire department before purchasing or using fireworks. See Section 5, below for a list of current Colorado fireworks laws in specific jurisdictions.

3. Colorado penalties for illegal fireworks

Possession of illegal fireworks in Colorado is a class 3 misdemeanor.

Consequences of possessing illegal fireworks in Colorado range from a minimum $50 fine to a maximum of:

  • A fine of $750, and/or
  • Up to six (6) months in jail.2

Local laws, however, often impose harsher penalties. For instance, in Denver, setting off fireworks of any kind is illegal. Consequences of fireworks use or possession in Denver and many other cities can include penalties of:

  • A fine of up to $1,000, and/or 
  • Up to one year in jail.

4. Fireworks use or possession by children under 16

It is unlawful in Colorado to furnish fireworks to anyone under 16 years of age. Those under 16 are also prohibited by law from buying fireworks in Colorado.

If permitted under local law, however, children under 16 may use otherwise legal fireworks under adult supervision.3

5. Are fireworks legal in my Colorado city or county?

The following list is subject to frequent changes depending on weather conditions. Before purchasing, possessing or using fireworks in Colorado, check with your local law enforcement or fire agency to determine if such use is legal.

Note that in unincorporated areas of the state, it is generally legal to use Colorado permissible fireworks on private property.

But remember -- fireworks use and possession is always banned in state and national parks and other public spaces. The below list refers to private property only.

  • Adams County -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Arapahoe – all fireworks are illegal
  • Arvada -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Aurora -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Boulder (city) -- illegal to set off fireworks, but possession is permitted other than in city parks, recreation areas, parkways or open spaces.
  • Boulder (county) – varies. Some localities (including Firestone, Frederick and Longmont) follow Colorado state fireworks laws. In other communities—such as Lafayette— all fireworks are illegal
  • Bow Mar -- sparklers permitted, but most other fireworks illegal
  • Centennial -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Colorado Springs -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Commerce City-- snappers and poppers allowed, but illegal to possess or use fireworks that must be lit
  • Denver -- all fireworks are illegal
  • El Paso County – most permissible fireworks are legal
  • Englewood -- snappers and poppers allowed, but illegal to possess or use fireworks that must be lit
  • Fort Collins -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Fountain - ground spinners, glowworms and sparklers are allowed, but all other fireworks illegal
  • Golden -- snappers and poppers allowed, but all other fireworks illegal
  • Greenwood Village -- sparklers allowed, but all other fireworks illegal
  • Lafayette – all fireworks are illegal
  • Jefferson County -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Lakewood -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Larimer County - all fireworks are illegal
  • Littleton -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Loveland -- all fireworks are illegal
  • Pueblo – permissible fireworks usually allowed, unless there is a fire ban. Check with the Pueblo Fire Department
  • Thornton -- snappers and poppers allowed, but all other fireworks illegal
  • Westminster -- fireworks that don't violate state law allowed between midnight July 3rd to noon July 5th.
  • Windsor -- all fireworks are illegal

6. Call us for help...

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If you've been arrested for the illegal possession or use of fireworks in Colorado, we can help. Use the form on this page (or call us) for a free consultation with one of our top Colorado criminal lawyers.

We will get back to you quickly to discuss your best legal defense to Colorado fireworks charges. Don't let being patriotic leave you with a criminal record. Contact us to find out why we are considered some of the best criminal lawyers in Colorado.

The Colorado Legal Defense Group defends clients on fireworks charges throughout Colorado. And our Denver office is conveniently located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202
720-955-6112


Legal references:

  1. 12-28-101, C.R.S... (3)(a) “Fireworks” means any composition or device designed to produce a visible or audible effect by combustion, deflagration, or detonation, and that meets the definition of articles pyrotechnic, permissible fireworks, or display fireworks.

    (b) “Fireworks” does not include:
    (I) Toy caps, party poppers, and items similar to toy caps and party poppers that do not contain more than sixteen milligrams of pyrotechnic composition per item and snappers that do not contain more than one milligram of explosive composition per item;
    (II) Highway flares, railroad fusees, ship distress signals, smoke candles, and other emergency signal devices;
    (III) Educational rockets and toy propellant device type engines used in such rockets when such rockets are of nonmetallic construction and utilize replaceable engines or model cartridges containing less than two ounces of propellant and when such engines or model cartridges are designed to be ignited by electrical means;
    (IV) Fireworks which are used in testing or research by a licensed explosives laboratory...

    (8)(a) “Permissible fireworks” means the following small fireworks devices designed to produce audible or visual effects by combustion, complying with the requirements of the United States consumer product safety commission as set forth in 16 CFR 1500.1 to 1500.272 and1507.1 to 1507.12, and classified as consumer fireworks UN0336 and UN0337 pursuant to 49 CFR 172.101:
    (I) Cylindrical fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed seventy-five grams each for a single tube or, when more than one tube is mounted on a common base, a total pyrotechnic composition of no more than two hundred grams;
    (II) Cone fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed fifty grams each for a single cone or, when more than one cone is mounted on a common base, a total pyrotechnic composition of no more than two hundred grams;
    (III) Wheels, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed sixty grams for each driver unit or two hundred grams for each complete wheel;
    (IV) Ground spinner, a small device containing not more than twenty grams of pyrotechnic composition venting out of an orifice usually in the side of the tube, similar in operation to a wheel, but intended to be placed flat on the ground;
    (V) Illuminating torches and colored fire in any form, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed two hundred grams each;
    (VI) Dipped sticks and sparklers, the total pyrotechnic composition of which does not exceed one hundred grams, of which the composition of any chlorate or perchlorate shall not exceed five grams;
    (VII) Any of the following that do not contain more than fifty milligrams of explosive composition:
    (A) Explosive auto alarms;
    (B) Toy propellant devices;
    (C) Cigarette loads;
    (D) Strike-on-box matches; or
    (E) Other trick noise makers;
    (VIII) Snake or glow worm pressed pellets of not more than two grams of pyrotechnic composition and packaged in retail packages of not more than twenty-five units;
    (IX) Fireworks that are used exclusively for testing or research by a licensed explosives laboratory;
    (X) Multiple tube devices with:
    (A) Each tube individually attached to a wood or plastic base;
    (B) The tubes separated from each other on the base by a distance of at least one-half of one inch;
    (C) The effect limited to a shower of sparks to a height of no more than fifteen feet above the ground;
    (D) Only one external fuse that causes all of the tubes to function in sequence; and
    (E) A total pyrotechnic composition of no more than five hundred grams.
    (b) “Permissible fireworks” do not include aerial devices or audible ground devices, including, but not limited to, firecrackers.

  2. See 12-28-110, C.R.S. and 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.
  3. 12-28-102, C.R.S.

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