With the temperature nearing 100 degrees, large crowds flocked to Bass Lake yesterday to beat the heat and watch the the fireworks display sponsored by the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Fire crews were on high alert due to the potential of wildfires from a variety of sources including fireworks which are illegal in the foothill and Mountain Area.
Anyone caught for possession of illegal fireworks can 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 (M-80s, Roman candles, bottle rockets) are discovered, a felony charge is possible, punishable by up to three years in the California State Prion with fines up to $50,000.
It seems the majority of people in Eastern Madera County heeded warnings from fire officials. Although there were many fire incidents in the Valley caused by fireworks, the Mountain Area escaped any major fires from such activity.
Wednesday morning (July 5), Cal Fire Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit Public Information Officer Jamie Williams said that Volunteers in Prevention (VIP) and amateur HAM radio operator’s Red Flag Patrol did a great job serving as extra eyes and ears on patrol July 4 watching for people setting off fireworks, parking in high grass and providing fire safety information to the public.
Williams said two fires - the Spring Fire in Mariposa County - and the Oak Fire near Roads 210 and 211 - are still under investigation and it isn’t known if they were caused by fireworks.
The Spring Fire, which began July 2 and burned 225 acres, is now 85% contained. A passing lane on Highway 49 near the Bootjack area of Mariposa County remains closed for the exclusive use of fire traffic.
The Oak Fire, which began at 5 p.m. on July 4, burned about 13 acres and is now 100% contained and in mop-up stage.
“I want to encourage residents to maintain situational awareness with regards to fires,” Williams said. “Fire danger is extremely high and it’s up to everyone to be fire safe.”