CENTRAL SIERRA – With the 4th of July weekend fast approaching, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU) would like to remind everyone that fireworks are banned in all State Responsibility Areas (SRA*) throughout California.
Fireworks stands are now open in numerous locations within Madera and Merced Counties. State law and county ordinance prohibits the use, possession and discharge of fireworks within the SRA, which includes Eastern Madera County, Mariposa County and portions of Merced County.
As California moves into a 5th year of drought, and extremely dry conditions persist within our region, Cal Fire encourages everyone to attend one of the professionally-produced public firework displays near you rather than risk starting a fire.
Locally, the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce has opted to avoid the risk of fire by putting on a spectacular laser light show at the lake, complete with a DJ providing a soundtrack for the display.
Safe and Sane fireworks, stamped with the State Fire Marshal seal, are the only fireworks that are allowed to be discharged in California, though these are not allowed in the SRA. Any fireworks that explode, move about the ground or shoot into the sky are dangerous and illegal in California. Parents may be held liable for any fire damage or injury caused by their children using illegal fireworks.
Anyone caught with illegal fireworks, with fireworks in prohibited areas or discharging fireworks outside of designate time frames will be cited and the fireworks will be confiscated. Possession of dangerous, illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor in California and may be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in a county jail for one year.
Possession of dangerous, illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor in Merced County and may be punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months.
Anyone who causes a fire through the misuse of fireworks is liable and will be billed for the cost of controlling the fire. If you are found in possession of sufficient dangerous, illegal fireworks, you may be guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment in a state prison or county jail for up to one year and/or up to a $50,000 fine.
For more information please call or stop by your local fire station.
Most wildfires in California are caused by people; which means they can be prevented. Remember, “One Less Spark…One Less Wildfire”
For more information please visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org or www.fire.ca.gov.
· First 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
· 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
*The State Responsibility Area (SRA) is the area of the state where the State of California (Cal Fire) is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. SRA does not include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership.