Extreme heat and dry conditions have fire officials on high alert, and with continued abuse of illegal fireworks, Arbuckle Fire Chief, Casey Cox, is considering a firework ban.
“It was like a war zone last year here in Arbuckle,” said Chief Cox, “illegal fireworks were flying through the air – all over town. I am not sure when our residents became blind to the law, but enough is enough.”
Chief Cox commented that he was not against fireworks, but quite the opposite – as he quite enjoys them – yet the safety of the community, he is sworn to protect, comes first.
“I understand we all love our fireworks, and to many organizations fireworks are their largest fundraiser of the year; but burning down your home, your neighbors home or the loss of life – isn’t worth it.” said Chief Cox.
As many Arbuckle residents witnessed last year, dozens of ‘bottle rocket’ type fireworks and professional grade fireworks were shot off last year. Most fireworks illegal, or operated without a proper permit.
“In years past, these types of fireworks have caused fires that threatened homes,” said Chief Cox, “and this year with the drought, there is an added safety concern.”
As firefighters battle blazes caused from firework negligence, often causes delays with other emergencies.
“What people don’t understand is that if we are fighting a fire caused by the negligence use of fireworks, we could be delayed responding to other emergencies,” said Chief Cox, “causing someone to lose their life isn’t worth a few a few seconds of sparkle.”
Only 296 communities within California that allow “Safe and Sane” fireworks for 2015 and fire departments across the state are urging extreme caution during California’s Drought.
“It can take hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to control a large fire,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE, ““We are urging the public to celebrate our nation’s independence by attending a professional fireworks display. For those who choose to use fireworks to celebrate, make sure fireworks are allowed in the area of use and follow all safety precautions. You don’t want to ruin your celebration by becoming financially responsible for a fire caused by your activities.”
California has a zero tolerance for the sale and use of illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks include sky rockets, bottle rockets, roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner. It is illegal to sell, transport, or use fireworks that do not carry the “Safe and Sane” seal, as well as possess or use any fireworks in a community where they are not permitted. If convicted, a violator could be fined up to $50,000 as well as sent to jail for up to one year.
“I don’t want to be the bad guy and ban fireworks, but the Fire Department is asking for community support and to celebrate the 4th of July – safe and sane,” said Chief Cox, “However, if conditions continue as in years past, the Arbuckle Fire Board could make the decision and join other communities and banning fireworks altogether.”
Chief Cox added that if anyone has any questions regarding fireworks purchased to stop in at their local Fire Department for inspection.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Chief Cox.