Celebrating a safe Independence Day with fireworks at Bass Lake

Thousands are expected to gather at Bass Lake for the annual firework show, which begins at 9 p.m.
Thousands are expected to gather at Bass Lake for the annual firework show, which begins at 9 p.m. Submitted photo

Even though July 4 falls on a Tuesday this year, it isn’t expected to deter the throngs of spectators planning to converge on Bass Lake next week to watch as the night sky lights up with dazzling colors during the annual fireworks show.

“It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is,” said Leslie Cox, Bass Lake Chamber president and fireworks chairperson. “The 4th of July always draws a huge crowd.”

Sponsored by the chamber, fireworks begin just after 9 p.m. A prelude to the fireworks, the boat parade (no fee to enter) starts at 7 p.m., near the entrance to Willow Cove. Boat owners are encouraged to decorate their boats to show patriotic pride. Judging takes place 7:30-8 p.m. in front of the Miller’s Landing Marina.

“The 4th of July looks to be another busy one based on the year so far,” said Michelle Miller, owner of Miller’s Landing. “Our boats and cabins have been full for quite some time, and the holiday falling on a Tuesday doesn’t seem to be slowing people down. With the lake being so full, I think they are just anxious to get out on the water.”

When it comes to visitor parking, motorists are reminded that all vehicles must have all four tires “off” Road 222 (the lake’s South Shore) and Road 432 (North Shore) as well as surrounding roadways, or risk having their vehicles towed.

To make fireworks donations: drop off at the Forks, mail to the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 126, Bass Lake, 93604, or donate online through paypal.

For boat parade details: Michelle Miller, (559) 642-3633.

Fireworks are illegal

Cal Fire officials hope everyone enjoys the holiday while staying mindful that all fireworks, including those deemed “Safe and Sane,” are illegal in the foothills and Mountain Area every day of the year, and that includes July 4.

Anyone caught for possession of illegal fireworks will be cited and fireworks will be confiscated. Violators found in possession of “Safe and Sane” fireworks (even sparklers) are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in the county jail. If large quantities of dangerous fireworks are discovered, a felony charge is possible, punishable by up to three years in the California State Prion and fines up to $50,000.

According to Cal Fire, serious injuries with millions of dollars in property loss happen each year from wildfires sparked by fireworks, and this year’s dangerous conditions have fire crews on high alert. Cal Fire Volunteers in Prevention (VIP) and amateur HAM radio operators on patrol will act as the eyes and ears for firefighters to help track down offenders.

Those causing a fire through the misuse of fireworks are 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 sold in Madera County, and can be used only on the Valley floor. State law, and county ordinances prohibits the possession and discharge of fireworks in Eastern Madera and Mariposa counties. The line for legal use is drawn along the Madera Canal, which is southwest of the intersection of highways 41 and 145.

Cal Fire urges everyone to use caution as fire danger remains higher than normal. Even with the record rainfall this year, the abundance of grass has dried out quickly. Add to that the high tree morality, and the risk of a disastrous fire becomes compounded.

Details: Cal Fire Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit, (209) 966-3622.

About your pets

More pets are lost over the July 4th holiday than any other day of the year, making it even more important that your pet is wearing an up-to-date ID tag at all times.

“Loud, unexpected noises frighten most animals, and will cause even the most calm to stress,” EMCSPCA President Sharon Fitzgerald emphasized. “Shelters, rescue groups, and our local EMCSPCA see more lost/found animals on July 5 than any other time of year. If you must leave your pets home alone, keep them inside. Playing music or the television may help ease their anxiety. Veterinarians can also offer advice on over-the-counter medications that are pet safe as well. Make sure your entire family, including your pets, enjoys the holiday.”

Holiday travels

According to AAA, more than 5.1 million Californians will travel over the July 4 holiday, an increase of 2.8% over last year which saw the highest number since 2002.