By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley)- – The big 4th of July holiday is nearly upon us. San Bernardino County Fire officials want to remind everyone that possession of any type of fireworks, including “Safe and Sane” fireworks, is against the law in any unincorporated area of San Bernardino County, which includes all areas of the High Desert except for one.
“Safe and Sane” fireworks are only allowed in Adelanto, as well as several cities down the hill. All fireworks that explode, shoot into the air or move along the ground are termed dangerous and are illegal anywhere in California, according to Mike Horton, Deputy Fire Marshall with San Bernardino County Fire.
“Dangerous fireworks are illegal to possess, illegal to transport, and illegal to use,” said Horton. “Users can be fined up to $1250 for the first offense of illegal use of ‘Safe and Sane’ or dangerous fireworks in the County. If they have less than 25 lbs they could be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a $1000 fine and a 1 year prison term. If it is in excess of 25 lbs they could be charged with a felony, up to $10,000 fine and 5 years in prison.”
Property owners may be cited if they allow fireworks to be possessed, stored or used on their property.
“We’ve done pretty significant interdiction work with fireworks being illegally transported into the County from out of state,” said Horton. “In the first two weeks of June we wrote over 10 citations of over $1250 value and we also made two felony arrests. Our efforts will continue through the 4th of July.”
Horton said that extra fire inspectors will be on duty for the evening of the 4th and fire suppression crews will be doing roving patrols.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, on a typical 4th of July, fireworks cause more fires in the U.S. than all other causes combined. County Fire officials encourage residents to watch fireworks at community celebrations rather than use their own.
When using fireworks where allowed, County Fire offers some safety tips:
- Always use fireworks (“Safe and Sane” only) with an adult present. Even a “Safe and Sane” sparkler burns at a temperature that ignites clothing easily
- Always read and follow label directions
- Always have water (garden hose/bucket) and a fire extinguisher within reach
- Always place fireworks on a firm, non-combustible surface, like a sidewalk or pavement
- Never alter fireworks
- Never re-light “dud” fireworks
- Homemade fireworks are often deadly; leave the making of fireworks to the experts
- Never point, throw or mishandle fireworks
For more information on fireworks safety, contact your local fire station.
Have a SAFE celebration!