As July 4th approaches, Cal Fire officials on Thursday wished to remind the public that fireworks remain an immense danger in the Mountain Area, and all pyrotechnics, even those deemed “safe and sane,” are still illegal with harsh penalties in store for those who break the law.
The line for legal use is drawn along the Madera Canal, which is southwest of the intersection of highways 41 and 145, officials said in a release. Any and all fireworks used northeast of that point can merit a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Additionally, if large quantities of “dangerous” fireworks are found, including those not “safe and sane,” illegal users could face a felony with three years in California State Prison and fines up to $50,000.
Officials said Cal Fire enforcement officers will be out in full force during the July 4th weekend. Alongside them will be Cal Fire Volunteers in Prevention (VIP) and amateur HAM radio operators on patrol, acting as eyes and ears for firefighters to help track down offenders.
Each patrol will consist of VIP’s with radio-equipped mobile units in designated areas under the Cal Fire Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU), officials said.
In the release, Cal Fire staff reminded the public that a heavy year of rainfall has created an abundance of dry grass, which could lead to devastating wildfires. They asked the public to be responsible, and refrain from fireworks or other activities that could lead to disaster while celebrating the holiday.
Fireworks will remain illegal in eastern Madera and Mariposa counties before and after the Fourth of July, officials said.