Sales of firecrackers kick off — as officials grapple with uptick in illegal fireworks

Sales of firecrackers kick off — as officials grapple with uptick in illegal fireworks

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Firecrackers went on sale Wednesday. And even though the number of firecracker permits is down this year, it’s still shaping up to be a noisy end to the year.

The reason: Illegal fireworks. Residents from Kalihi to Kaneohe to Ko Olina are reporting them.

Officials are urging anyone who spots an illegal firework being set off to call 911.

“It’s dangerous,” said Sgt. Chris Kim, of CrimeStoppers. “We need the community’s help.”

Illegal aerial fireworks are a perennial problem, and authorities have said they’ll be out in force this year to enforce fireworks laws. But catching people lighting up illegal aerials is also an annual problem.

Cell phone footage can be used in court, but only if the person who shot it is willing to testify, Kim said.

With the sale of firecrackers officially underway, the fire department is reminding residents that firecrackers can be dangerous, too, if used improperly.

[Read more: ‘Dodged a bullet’: Illegal aerials lit up much of Oahu on New Year’s]

The Honolulu Fire Department said 17,676 firecracker permits were issued this year. Meanwhile, the number of retailers selling firecrackers is down to 59, from 92 in 2015.

Firecracker sales are allowed through midnight New Year’s Eve.

And they can be lit from 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 through 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Looking for a professional fireworks display? Here’s what’s on tap this year:

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon: 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve
  • Kahala Resort & Hotel: Midnight on New Year’s Eve
  • Ko Olina - Sites B & C: Midnight on New Year’s Eve
  • Waikiki: Midnight on New Year’s Eve

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