Be careful, responsible with fireworks

July 4, 2009

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. July 4, 2009

In 2008, there were 518 fires in the state caused by fireworks over the Independence Day holiday.

People using fireworks must remember that there are legal consequences to damages caused by the irresponsible use of fireworks.

Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.

A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. Possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80s, M-100s and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offense.

Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and susceptible to fire. A person found responsible for a wildland fire started by a firework can be required to pay restitution for the fire suppression costs. Fire suppression costs of a wildland fire can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Residents should talk with family members and guests about the fireworks laws for their area. Learn more about fireworks ordinances in cities and counties and other information regarding fireworks here.

Personal fireworks require personal responsibility. Remember the three Bs of fireworks safety:

Be prepared — Have water nearby and put pets indoors.

Be safe — Only adults should light fireworks.

Be responsible — Clean up fireworks debris.

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