With the Independence Day holiday rapidly approaching, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians and visitors to do their part to prevent fires caused by illegal fireworks or the misuse of “Safe and Sane” fireworks. On Sunday, June 28 “Safe and Sane” Fireworks began to go on sale in approximately 300 communities throughout California.
Although fireworks are a symbolic display of patriotism during this time of celebration, they can be dangerous when handled incorrectly or used in the wrong environment.
“As we move into dryer, warmer months, wildfire activity is quickly picking up,” said Chief Thom Porter, CAL FIRE Director. “Residents need to understand the dangers associated with the use of illegal fireworks or misuse of legal fireworks. In California we have zero tolerance for the use and sale of illegal fireworks. Any person who causes a fire can be held liable for the costs of its suppression and associated property damage. Often these costs are in the hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.”
There are also legal ramifications when it comes to certain types of fireworks. Possession or transportation of illegal fireworks such as sky rockets, bottle rockets, roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner can lead to a possible fine of up to $50,000 as well as prison time or jail for up to one year. Even “Safe and Sane” Fireworks taken into a city or county where they are banned are considered illegal.
“Unfortunately, many community events for the 4th of July have been cancelled this year. With more families and friends spending time together at home during the holiday, we want to remind everyone that only “Safe and Sane” fireworks are allowed in California and make sure to check your local laws regarding their use,” said Mike Richwine, State Fire Marshal. “Only use legal fireworks and only in a safe manner. Use of illegal fireworks or use of any firework in an unsafe manner will quickly ruin a celebration and you could be fined and charged for resulting damages.”
The State Fire Marshal approved “Safe and Sane” fireworks are allowed for use in many communities; however, they are not approved state-wide. Before purchasing these types of fireworks, be sure to check your local ordinances and follow the instructions to avoid accidents and injuries.
- First check that fireworks are allowed within the area of use
- Make sure the firework has the State Fire Marshal “Safe and Sane” seal
o Counterfeit labels do exist, only make purchases from trustworthy vendors.
- Purchase only from legitimate organizations authorized to sell within California
- Have a bucket of water, sand or garden hose available at firing site
- Read all instructions before use
- Never alter, modify or enhance fireworks – use only in the manner intended
- Make sure fireworks have proper clearance from flammable materials including dry grass and brush
For a full fireworks safety guide visit https://www.readyforwildfire.org/more/fireworks-safety/ or watch this short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G38xe9gjzi8.