Residents of Big River and other communities on the California side of the Colorado River, please take note. The San Bernardino County Fire Department is reminding 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. In the event a fire occurs due to the unsafe use of fireworks, the people responsible are likely to face criminal charges and be held liable for damages.
According to the website of the Shouse California Law Group (www.shouselaw.com), California defines some fireworks as “dangerous” and others as “safe and sane.”
"’Dangerous’ fireworks include large items such as rockets and sparklers bigger than ten inches in length or one-quarter inch in diameter,” the website said. “’Safe and sane’ fireworks include small items such as fountains, spinners, and snap caps. The Office of the California State Fire Marshal puts a list on its website of fireworks that meet this definition.”
“Safe and Sane” fireworks are only allowed in the following cities: Adelanto, Chino, Colton, and Rialto, as well as specific locations in Fontana, Grand Terrace, and San Bernardino. Please call the fire department in these cities for more information. All fireworks are illegal elsewhere in the county. All fireworks that explode, shoot into the air or move along the ground are termed dangerous and are illegal anywhere in California.
County officials say San Bernardino County is facing a dangerous wildland fire season. The San Bernardino County Fire Department (SBCoFD) has increased its enforcement state and county firework laws to protect public health and safety. Fire and law enforcement agencies will be conducting operations this year to stop attempts to smuggle illegal fireworks with fines up to $1,250 for the first offense and with the possibility of arrest. Property owners may be cited if they allow fireworks to be possessed, stored or used on their property.
“Residents play an important role in our fireworks investigations. If you see something, say something. Call the authorities or WeTip hotline at 1-800-47-ARSON to anonymously report illegal fireworks,” Fire Marshal Mike Horton said.
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. In addition to fires, fireworks cause deaths, blindness, maiming injuries to children and adults, re-traumatize war veterans suffering from PTSD, and frighten household pets.
While “Safe and Sane” fireworks are allowed in some San Bernardino County communities, the County Board of Supervisors and SBCoFD encourage residents to watch fireworks at community celebrations rather than use their own. Visit the website sbcfire.org for a schedule of local firework displays.
When using Safe and Sane fireworks where allowed, SBCoFD 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.