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Fire Concerns With Fireworks Sales In Northern California

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some of the "safe and sane" fireworks for sale at the Sutter Middle School fireworks booth.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

After four years of drought, tinder-dry conditions have created dangerous fire conditions throughout California. But, as July 4 nears, "safe and sane" fireworks are not restricted from sales and use in most areas of the Sacramento region. 

Fireworks stands throughout Sacramento County and other parts of California are operated by charities or nonprofit groups.

The parent-teacher-student organization at Sutter Middle School in Sacramento is selling fireworks this week at a stand in the Riverpark neighborhood to raise funds for the school.

School principal David Rodriguez is one of the people helping customers.

"The funds raised for this go back, go directly back to our students," says Rodriguez, "We're an older school that does not have a lot of updated technology. So all the all the money raised has been going to updating our technology for all of our students in our classrooms."

He says it is one of the biggest fundraisers for the school during the year. Rodriguez understands concerns about fire, especially during the fourth year of drought.

"It is the year of the drought, but at the same time if they're doing lighting the fireworks in a safe place and they do it wisely, I don't see a problem with it," he says.

Cal Fire says there are about 300 stands selling "safe and sane" fireworks in California. Not every county or city allows "safe and sane" fireworks. In many areas, the only fireworks permitted are in professional shows.

Cal Fire has suggested that people consider going to a professional fireworks show instead of lighting "safe and sane" fireworks at home.

The California State Fire Marshal approves "safe and sane" fireworks for use in many communities, but not in other parts of the state.

"Safe and sane fireworks are only as safe as they are used," says State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover. "Last year alone there were over 300 fires sparked by fireworks. We want everyone to enjoy their celebrations in a safe and legal manner."

The use of "safe and sane" fireworks are allowed in Sacramento County between June 28 through 10 p.m. July 5. In Yolo County, "safe and sane" are allowed in Yolo County, except in the city of Davis, where only the city's display is allowed.

In Placer County, fireworks of all sizes and types are illegal in unincorporated areas of the county, including Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Granite Bay. Some incorporated cities within Placer County allow "safe and sane" fireworks to be sold and used.

All fireworks are illegal in El Dorado County, even the "safe and sane" type.

Around Lake Tahoe, including the Washoe County portion in Nevada, any type of fireworks are illegal, except for regulated fireworks shows.

Fireworks are also illegal in the unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County, but "safe and sane"are legal in all cities in the county.