With Independence Day approaching, Cal Fire is reminding all Californians and visitors to help prevent fires caused by illegal fireworks or the misuse of “safe and sane” fireworks. 

According to a press release, although fireworks are a symbolic display of patriotism during this holiday, 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, in the press release. “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, according to the press release. 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. 

“Safe and sane” fireworks taken into a city or county where they are banned are also considered illegal. 

“Unfortunately, many community events for the Fourth of July have been canceled this year,” said Mike Richwine, state fire marshal, said in the press release. “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. Only use legal fireworks and only in a safe manner. Use of illegal fireworks or use of any fireworks in an unsafe manner will quickly ruin a celebration and you could be fined and charged for resulting damages.”

Fireworks guidelines:

– Fire check that fireworks are allowed in the area of use.

– Make sure the firework has the state fire marshal “safe and sane” seal. Counterfeit labels do exist, so make sure to purchase 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 a manner intended. 

– Make sure fireworks have proper clearance from flammable materials, including dry grass and brush.

For a full fireworks guide, visit www.readyforwildfire.org/more/fireworks-safety. 

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