In many communities across the state, the “Safe and Sane” fireworks went on sale on Tuesday, June 28, but CalFire is reminding everyone to do their part to have a safe holiday and help prevent fires and injuries caused by fireworks. With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, state fire officials are stressing the dangers and consequences of using illegal fireworks.
“Already this year our Arson and Bomb Investigators and Law Enforcement Officers have been busy assisting with numerous illegal fireworks enforcement operations,” said Chief Mike Richwine, California State Fire Marshal. “We have a zero-tolerance stance toward the use, possession, and transportation of illegal fireworks. Even “Safe and Sane” fireworks are banned in many communities and bring stiff fines for their illegal use.”
Over the past few months CalFire-Office of the State Fire Marshal’s specialized Arson and Bomb Investigators have been providing intelligence and support to local and federal illegal fireworks enforcement efforts. These operations have seized tens of thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks. It is illegal to sell, transport, or use fireworks that do not carry the “Safe and Sane” seal, as well as possess or use fireworks in a community where they are not permitted. If convicted, a violator could be fined up to $50,000, as well as be sent to jail for up to one year. Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks.
Illegal fireworks include: Skyrockets, Bottle rockets, Roman candles, Aerial shells, Firecrackers and any other fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner.
“Fire conditions are elevated, and the Fourth of July, along with the use of fireworks, only increases the risk for wildfires,” said Chief Joe Tyler, CalFire Director and Fire Chief. “It is critical that Californians be vigilant and consider leaving the fireworks to the professionals.”
CalFire is offering the public the following fireworks precautions:
• If using “Safe and Sane” Fireworks, first check they are allowed in the area of use.
• Make sure the firework has the State Fire Marshal “Safe and Sane” seal on it.
• Have a bucket of water and garden hose available at firing site. During this drought it is recommend you use a bucket of gray/reused water to submerse your firework after it is used to fully extinguish it.
• 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.
To learn more about fireworks safety, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org/more/fireworks-safety/
Meanwhile, San Joaquin Valley Air District officials are cautioning Valley residents that personal fireworks emit high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), including soot, ash and metals, which can cause serious health effects. Individuals most at-risk are small children, the elderly and people with existing respiratory conditions.
“We are asking Valley residents to be mindful and considerate of their neighbors and the many sensitive individuals whose health may be impacted by the emissions that come from lighting personal fireworks,” said Samir Sheikh, the Valley Air District’s Executive Director.
Many Fourth of July celebrations and public fireworks displays are once again taking place throughout the San Joaquin Valley. District officials suggest taking advantage of professional, community fireworks shows as a safer and more spectacular source of Independence Day entertainment.
Each Fourth of July, air monitors across the Valley reflect spikes in PM2.5 concentrations from fireworks, often four to five times higher than the health-based federal standard, and typically during evening hours, when personal fireworks are most in use.
The District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) provides access to localized air quality data from an extensive air-monitoring network. Visit myRAAN.com and input any address in the San Joaquin Valley.
For more information about the Air District, call the regional office in Modesto at 209-557-6400.