Officials urge safety this July 4

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Officials urge safety this July 4Even fireworks deemed “safe and sane” by the California Fire Marshal can be a fire and safety hazard. IWV residents are urged to exercise caution during private use of fireworks this Fourth of July. — News Review file photo

------

Stewards of fire safety are on a heightened alert this year, as the loss of the professionally run community firework celebration in the Indian Wells Valley is anticipated to increase the number of private celebrations this Fourth of July.

The Kern County Fire Department blessed the use of “safe and sane” fireworks, which go on sale July 1 at a variety of locations throughout Ridgecrest.

However, officials note, any use of illegal or modified fireworks is punishable with a $1,500 fine for the first offense, with increasingly aggressive fines levied for subsequent offenses.

Engineer Anthony Romero of KCFD said the county is always inundated with calls about illegal fireworks on Independence Day. While local arson units and police forces typically help man the volume of calls, it can be difficult to respond in a timely manner.

“We still have to prioritize emergencies, so many times by the time we arrive people have already scattered.”

The fire department urges users to ensure that the California State Fire Marshal’s Seal appears on every product. “If this symbol is not visible, it is an illegal firework,” said a spokesperson.

“If you purchase fireworks from an individual or on a website, like Craigslist or Facebook, more than likely these fireworks are illegal and are subject to a citation.”

The use of fireworks in mountain communities is prohibited, and use in areas with dry vegetation is discouraged.

For dates of approved local sales and use, as well as a complete list of the laws, fines and penalties associated with illegal use, see www.youlightitwewriteit.com/.

A fireworks celebration will be held over Lake Isabella in neighboring Kern River Valley on Saturday, June 30.

To learn about the Kern River Valley event see www.kernrivervalley.com/fireworks-extravaganza.

Story First Published: 2018-06-29