County Officials to Demonstrate Fireworks Safety, Fire Prevention

Their briefing is scheduled for 11 a.m. outside the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Public safety officials in Riverside today will spell out the potential hazards and legal consequences of setting off fireworks.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone, county Fire Chief John Hawkins and sheriff's Chief Deputy Shelley Kennedy-Smith will be among those on hand, along with pyrotechnic experts, to discuss the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and the risks of lighting fireworks.

Their briefing is scheduled for 11 a.m. outside the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center.

County residents are prohibited from using any type of pyrotechnic devices except in Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio, where so-called ``safe and sane'' fireworks can be sold to the public.

The devices, which must meet state fire marshal certification, generally do not explode or fly and include ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps.

According to the fire department, there will be a display during this morning's event of the physical harm that can result from lighting firecrackers, as well as a demonstration of how easily a brush fire can erupt
due to the region's tinder-box conditions as a result of drought.

Under county Ordinance 858, fines for illegally storing, transporting or setting off fireworks can range from $500 to $1,000.

A violation is a misdemeanor. After a first offense, a repeat violator can be sentenced to up to
one year in jail.

According to county officials, any person who triggers a brush fire because of the illegal use of fireworks will be held responsible for all suppression costs.

Municipalities can authorize fireworks demonstrations, and the county grants permits for fireworks shows in unincorporated communities. 

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