Fireworks permits and fireworks on sale now for New Year’s Eve
December 28, 2022, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated December 28, 8:31 AM
It doesn’t matter where you are at midnight New Year’s Eve on the Big Island, there’s bound to be a fireworks show somewhere nearby.
The booms, bangs, crackles and whistles of those festive displays send a colorful and raucous report into the night sky, saying farewell to the year that was and ringing in the year ahead. Even if by some dumb luck you don’t catch a lightshow itself, you can’t miss the wafting cloud of smoke accompanied by a distinct and lingering smell of sulfur that will emanate from the backyards of many island homes and neighborhoods.
What does matter is making sure you celebrate responsibly.
The sale of fireworks and fireworks permits began Monday and runs through midnight Dec. 31 at various locations around the Big Island. A permit costs $25 and entitles its holder to purchase up to 5,000 individual “red paper” string firecrackers. Paperless firecrackers and novelties do not require a permit.
Fireworks permits are available for purchase at the following times and locations:
- 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 30: Fire Administration Office, Hilo County Building, 25 Aupuni St., Suite 2501, Hilo.
- By appointment only through Dec. 30: Kona Fire Prevention Office, West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building E, second floor, Kailua-Kona. Call 808-323-4760 to set up an appointment.
- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 31: Parker Ranch Shopping Center Food Court, Waimea.
Fireworks permits will also be sold at the following firecracker vendors:
- KTA Puainako, 50 E. Puainako St., Hilo.
- KTA Kona; Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona.
- Pacific Fireworks, 74-5629 Kuakini Highway, Suite 155, Kailua-Kona.
- J. Hara Store, 17-343 Volcano Highway, Kurtistown.
- BJ Alan Tent Kona, 74-5511 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona.
- BJ Alan Tents at 325 E. Maka‘ala St., 111 E. Puainako St. and 381 E. Maka‘ala St. in Hilo.
- TNT Tent Kona, 75-1015 Henry St., Kailua-Kona.
- Long’s Drug Puainako in Hilo.
- Long’s Drug Kea‘au.
Common fireworks allowed without a permit include cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wheels, illuminating torches and colored fire, dipped sticks, sparklers and salutes.
Michael Matsui, fireworks auditor for the Hawai‘i Fire Department, said as long as there are firecrackers to buy, there is no limit to the number of permits a person can purchase. You must be 18 or older to purchase a permit and it is non-transferable and non-refundable.
Matsui also said there have been no significant changes to fireworks laws since last year.
That means the use of fireworks is still only permitted from 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 1 a.m. New Year’s Day. It also means aerial fireworks, which move more than 12 feet, require special permits and a special license. Any type of fireworks that go above 12 feet high and move around on the ground in more than a 12-foot radius are classified as aerial. The state law banning aerial fireworks was enacted in 1995.
Prohibited fireworks include:
- Jumping jacks.
- Flying pigs.
- Roman candles.
- Bottle rockets.
- Aerial luminary devices, also known as sky lanterns or Hawai’i lanterns.
According to the Hawai‘i Police Department, anyone who purchases, possesses, stores, sets off, ignites or discharges aerial devices, display fireworks or articles pyrotechnic without a valid permit could be charged with a Class C felony and face up to five years behind bars if convicted.
“Please remember that anyone igniting aerial pyrotechnic displays risk not only their life but also the lives of loved ones nearby and potentially neighbors as well,” the Police Department said in a media release.
Fire officials and police also remind the public that it is illegal to throw fireworks from, at or into any vehicle and set off any fireworks at any time other than the specified time frame; within 1,000 feet of any hospital, convalescent home, nursing home, zoo, animal hospital or shelter or church when services are being conducted; on any school property without authorization of school officials; and on any public way such as a highway, alley, street, sidewalk or park.
The removal of the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any firework is prohibited. It also is illegal for minors to purchase, possess, sell or set off, ignite or explode any fireworks unless they are under the immediate supervision of an adult.
The Police Department reported earlier this year that between 6 p.m. Dec. 31, 2021, and 11:59 p.m. Jan. 2, officers responded to 227 fireworks complaints, nine of which were criminal complaints. Three fireworks-related citations were issued from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve 2021 to 11:59 p.m. Jan. 2.
The Fire Department received a total of 252 calls on New Year’s Eve 2021 and New Year’s Day 2022. Those calls included medical, rescue, alarm activations and good intent calls, among others. Only five were related to fireworks.
Police will again be on the lookout this year for violators of fireworks laws. Officials ask that the public to kōkua this New Year by following the fireworks rules to prevent fires and injuries to people and pets alike.
For more information about purchasing fireworks permits or using fireworks, call the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Branch at 808-932-2911 in Hilo or 808-323-4760 in Kona.