It’s that time of year: parades; barbecues; swimming; long warm So Cal nights with family and friends; John Philip Sousa, Old Glory and the Red White and Blue; and last but not least, FIREWORKS! Some like sitting back and watching a grand public display. But many others in Southern California grew up lighting fireworks on their streets at home. Blossoms, fountains, candles, sparklers – you name it.
And the Fourth of July just would not be the same without the smell of powder, smoke and spent fireworks adorning the neighborhood. So – just where in Southern California can you set off your own personal fireworks show?
The following cities in Southern California permit “Safe and Sane” fireworks:
Desert Hot Springs
Santa Fe Springs
South El Monte
SAFE AND SANE FIREWORKS
Alright, your city allows fireworks! Now what? Just what can you shoot off in your driveway, street or backyard? Under California law, “fireworks” are defined as any device containing chemical elements that do not require oxygen to burn; and that produce audible, visual, mechanical, or heat pyrotechnic effects for entertainment. (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12511.) But not all fireworks are legal for consumers to use. You, the consumer are limited to those fireworks that are officially labeled “safe and sane.” Basically these are limited to fireworks that do not fly or explode. These are the ones you can find at your friendly neighborhood fireworks stand. So no, the box of skyrockets you brought over from Nevada won’t fit the bill.
WHERE CAN YOU SET OFF FIREWORKS?
California law prohibits the use of even “safe and sane” fireworks where there is a likelihood that the discharge of the fireworks will injure another person. (See Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12680.) It is also illegal to intentionally discharge fireworks with the intent of creating chaos, fear, or panic in other people. Bear in mind that it is also illegal to discharge fireworks within 100 feet of a location where gasoline or any other flammable liquid is stored. (See Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12679.)
WHO CAN PURCHASE SAFE AND SANE FIREWORKS?
If you are 15 or under, you are out of luck. It is unlawful in California for anyone to sell safe and sane fireworks to a person under the age of 16. (See Cal. Health & Safety Code § 12689.)
WHEN CAN YOU BUY FIREWORKS?
You can buy fireworks marked with the “safe and sane” emblem from 12:00 p.m. June 28 through 12:00 p.m. July 6 every year.
WHAT IF YOU SET OFF ILLEGAL FIREWORKS?
There’s a law for that. If you’re caught using illegal fireworks, you could be hit with a misdemeanor charge and a $1,000 fine, along with a year in jail. If you’re caught with a lot of illegal fireworks, you could end up in federal prison for three years and have to pay a fine of $50,000.
Stay safe out there. If all else fails, sit back and enjoy one of the many professional fireworks shows throughout Southern California.
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