Community Environment

Louisville officials are advising residents against setting off fireworks in their neighborhoods on Independence Day.

Smoke from fireworks is actually a type of particle pollution. Make enough of it, and it can impact the city’s air quality.

Ordinarily, Louisville has more problems with ozone, but come Independence Day, the Air Pollution Control District issues advisories warning neighbors against setting off fireworks in city limits.

This year’s advisory noted it’s also illegal to shoot off airborne and exploding fireworks in city limits.

The smoke can linger over the city and aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems — sometimes exceeding federal air pollution limits, said Tom Nord, an Air Pollution Control District spokesman.

“In recent years, we’ve actually had some Fourth of Julys where there was so much fireworks activity going on around the entire city that we actually saw a spike in particulate matter,” Nord said.

In fact, the cumulative impact of people shooting off smaller fireworks all over the city can actually cause more air pollution than the city’s own fireworks show.

“Just out of consideration for people who might, you know, be living in your neighborhood. You know you might have a neighbor with asthma or there’s maybe an elderly person on your street who, you know, can’t go out outside because there’s so much smoke hanging over your neighborhood,” said Nord.

The last time smoke caused Louisville to exceed federal limits on Independence Day was in 2015, he said.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.