The best way to enjoy a pyrotechnic salute to the red, white and blue is to attend a fireworks show put on by professionals, according to firefighters.
Apart from what the pros launch, most fireworks are illegal in Iowa, according to Assistant Fire Chief Doug Ostbloom, who is the city's fire marshal.
''If it goes up or it goes boom, it's not legal fireworks,'' he said Monday.
Ostbloom said in Iowa sparklers and snakes, those black pellets that turn into squiggly lines when lighted, are the only types of fireworks that are legal.
Common sense must be used if either of those items are to be part of someone's Independence Day celebration, he said.
Sparklers burn at a temperature of about 1,200 to 1,700 degrees, according to Ostbloom. He said there has already been an incident in Fort Dodge in which a woman suffered an eye injury from an ember coming off a sparkler.
Alcohol and sparklers or snakes are a bad combination, he added. No one should drink while using fireworks, he said.
Children should not light the sparklers or snakes.
Once a sparkler is lit, children and adults alike tend to want to twirl them or as Ostbloom put it ''windmill them around.'' That's a bad idea, he said, because it creates the possibility that flying embers from the sparkler will hit someone or something.
Sparklers should not be used on wooden decks, and Ostbloom recommended that a bucket of water be available at all times so that the fireworks can be doused.
If snakes are going to be lit, everyone should stay well back from them, according to Ostbloom.