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Fired Up For Fireworks?

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San Andreas, CA — Due to prevailing extremely dry conditions in this fourth year of drought, fireworks on sale today, ahead of the July Fourth weekend, are an obvious cause for local concern.

While the sale and use of all fireworks, including sparklers, are prohibited in Tuolumne County under a local ordinance, in Calaveras County, colorful fireworks for sale signage promoting sanctioned booths now doing brisk business peddling “safe and sane” fireworks.

Under state law, in communities that permit them, only those that bear the official Safe and Sane State Fire Marshal’s seal may be bought or sold, and these must subsequently be set off using all the proper precautions.

Law enforcement and fire safety officials will be on the lookout for unsafe use of fireworks as well as to confiscate contraband pyrotechnics such as bottle rockets, sky rockets and roman candles, for which there are stiff penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in jail. More words for the wise: it is illegal to have or use fireworks on federal lands, regardless of their location, county-wise, such as in Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park.

At least two public locations will be available for those who may be seeking more secure and supervised spots to fire up their own legally purchased fireworks on Saturday, July 4.

They are at:

— Bret Harte Union High School (364 Murphys Grade Road, Angels Camp), where the City of Angels Camp Fire Department will be on hand from 6 to 10 p.m. Under onsite school policy, no smoking or alcohol is permitted.

–Copperopolis Fire Department (370 Main St., across from the post office), beginning at  dusk, will also host a location in its back parking/heli-pad lot. The public is invited to bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. No alcohol is permitted.

CalFire shares a new video (click video link in upper left image box to view) updating the public on fireworks hazards and also remind us that last year’s nearly 6,500-acre Monticello Fire in Yolo County was caused by fireworks. National data indicates that over 10,000 people year receive emergency room treatment for fireworks injuries; about half of them are bystanders. Overall, a third of those injured are children age 15 and under with sparklers-related use listed a leading cause. So, enjoy the Fourth but be careful!