Summer in California is officially underway and the warm temperatures bring increased outdoor activities, with the Fourth of July being no exception. Many Californians and tourists will be celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks, and Cal Fire wants to stress the importance of fireworks safety and the state’s zero tolerance against illegal fireworks.
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“Every year Cal Fire and fire departments across California respond to hundreds of fireworks-related fires that result in millions of dollars in damage,” said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, of Cal Fire–Office of the State Fire Marshal. “If you are going to use fireworks, check first with your local fire department to make sure they are allowed in your area. If they are, use only fireworks that carry the State Fire Marshal’s ‘Safe and Sane’ seal.” (Even ‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks are illegal in El Dorado County.)
California has a zero tolerance for the sale and use of illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks include 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. It is illegal to sell, transport or use fireworks that do not carry the “Safe and Sane” seal, as well as possess or use any fireworks in a community where they are not permitted. If convicted, a violator could be fined up to $50,000 as well as sent to jail for up to one year. There are nearly 300 communities within California that allow “Safe and Sane” fireworks.
“Even with a temporary cool down and rain in parts of Northern California, our fire activity remains significantly higher than average,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire. “With how dry conditions are, if fireworks are used illegally or in an unsafe manner, they can easily spark a fire or cause injuries; the consequences to our communities can be devastating.”
Cal Fire is asking Californians to prepare for wildfires by taking these actions:
· Check that fireworks are allowed in the area of use.
· Make sure the firework has the State Fire Marshal “Safe and Sane” seal.
· Purchase only from legitimate organizations authorized to sell.
· Have a bucket of water, sand or garden hose available at firing site.
· Read all instructions before use.
· Dispose of used fireworks in water.
· Never alter, modify or enhance fireworks.
· Make sure fireworks have proper clearance from flammable materials including dry grass and brush.
For more information about safe fireworks use, visit the Cal Fire Website at fire.ca.gov.