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In this undated photo, Justice, left, and Shelah Martinez pick out their favorite fireworks at the Galaxy Fireworks stand in Willmar. While the National Fire Prevention Agency would prefer consumers to not use fireworks, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently released a list of tips to make home firework shows safer and more enjoyable. The list also reminds residents of the legalities of being caught with illegal fireworks. Tribune photo

For those caught using illegal fireworks, injuries could be the least of your concerns

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Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is urging consumers to use extra precautions when lighting and watching fireworks.

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In Minnesota any firework that leaves the ground or explodes is illegal. These include bottle rockets and Roman candles.

“Have fun with your fireworks but be safe and only use the fireworks that are legal in Minnesota,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said in a recent press release. “It takes only one incident to cause irreversible damage.”

Although the National Fire Prevention Agency would prefer consumers not use fireworks, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released a list of tips to make home firework shows safer and more enjoyable.

The public safety department also urges parents to remember there is no such thing as a safe firework.

Sparklers burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

They also caused 24 percent of the total number of firework-related injuries in 2011 according to the 2011 Firework Annual Report.

In 2011 fireworks caused nearly 18,000 fires and 9,600 separate injuries that required an emergency room visit, according to John Hall writing for the National Fire Protection Association.

Children and teens are the highest risk for injury.

According to the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division, 18 percent of firework related injuries occurred to children ages nine and younger. That number jumps to 41 percent when children ages 10 to 19 are included in the data.

If illegal fireworks are present and the owner does not have a license to use them, state law enforcement has the right to confiscate the items. A $700 fine and up to 90 days in jail may also be enforced. If the gross weight of illegal fireworks is more than 35 pounds, a $3,000 fine and up to one year in jail may be enforced.

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