With the threat of wildfire at an all time high, fire officials are reminding everyone that all fireworks, including ‘safe and sane’ fireworks, are illegal in the foothill and Mountain Areas of Eastern Madera County, and those caught in possession of any fireworks, a misdemeanor, can be fined up to $1,000, and/or a year in jail.
According to Cal Fire serious injuries and millions of dollars in property loss happen each year from wildfires sparked by fireworks, and this year’s drought conditions have fire crews on high alert. State law, and county ordinance prohibits the possession and discharge of fireworks in Eastern Madera County, and Mariposa County. If a person is found in possession of sufficient dangerous, illegal fireworks, they may be found guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or county jail for up to one year, and/or up to a $50,000 fine. Illegal fireworks include fire crackers, sky rockets, roman candles, and bottle rockets.
In addition, anyone who causes a fire through the misuse of fireworks is liable and can be billed for the cost of controlling the fire, and parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks.
‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks are the only fireworks that are allowed to be sold in Madera County and these can only be used on the valley floor.
With the July 4th weekend following the Sky and Corrine Fires that burned nearly 1,500 acres near Oakhurst and North Fork, Cal Fire urges everyone to use caution as fire danger remains higher than normal due to the drought.
“While we hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday, we also want it to be a safe one,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director. “The dry conditions throughout the state have created a situation where a fire could easily spark, so we ask everyone to be cautious as they enjoy their time outdoors.”
Laser Light Show
The Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce is replacing the traditional fireworks display this year with a laser light show, choreographed to music, due to the extremely dry conditions around the lake caused by the drought crisis. The traditional fireworks show has taken place for 78 years at the lake, but the chamber decided the threat of what could be a disastrous fire, was a good reason to switch to the laser light show.
“The Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors felt it is extremely important not to put our forests and neighbors at risk during this unusually dry season,” said chamber board member Michelle Miller.
Miller said the traditional July 4 “Boat Parade” will be held prior to the light show. Interested boaters will assemble near the entrance to Willow Cove. The parade will begin at 7 p.m., with boats slowly traveling towards The Pines Resort, and circling around the lake, passing in front of The Forks Resort on the way to Miller’s Landing Resort where the decorated boats will be judged. Participants are asked to register with Miller by calling (559) 642-3633.
The 25-minute laser light show is expected to begin about 9:15 p.m., and will be positioned between The Forks and The Pines resorts. The light show will be proceeded by music starting at 8:15 p.m.
“There is no replacement for the fireworks show, but we believe the Laser Light Show will be a fun and unique alternative considering the current fire risks,” Miller said. The chamber will ask for donations at all entrances to the lake to help pay for the light show. A portion of the donations will be shared with the Yosemite High School boys basketball program.
Pines Village Park
An Independence Day Celebration will be held 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., Saturday, in the Pines Village Park. There will be a golf cart decorating contest, face-painting, a best red, temporary henna tattoos, white, and blue hat contest, a chance to create tye-dye t-shirts, games, and music. Additional activities will take place 5 - 9:30 p.m., at Bass Lake Water Sports, adjacent to Ducey’s on the Lake.
Ducey’s lakeside barbecue
Ducey’s on the Lake will again hold a July 4th BBQ Buffet on the lawn overlooking the lake. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner 6:30 - 8:30. Music will be provided by The Marie Wilson Band. The menu includes potato, macaroni, and pasta salads, fresh fruit, pork ribs, baked salmon, prime rib, Italian sausage, BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans rice pilaf, and assorted desserts.
Cost is $64.95 for adults, $54.95 for seniors (55+), $34.95 children four to 12, free children under four. Ducey’s will donate $5 from every ticket to the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Be safe - not sorry
Cal Fire safety tips to help prevent wildfires this weekend and all summer:
• Clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any campfire.
• Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving.
• When barbequing, never leave the grill unattended.
• Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground.
• Never drive or pull over into dry grass.
Fire is not the only danger that can occur in the outdoors, as water drownings also increase during this holiday weekend. Warm temperatures make the cool waters of lakes and rivers very enticing, yet dangerous.
• Always wear a life jacket.
• Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult.
• Never swim alone.
• Drinking and swimming can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.