Firefighters quickly extinguished two fires in Copperopolis and one in Tuolumne County last night while the Mother Lode celebrated the Fourth of July.
The first occurred shortly before midnight near Council Court in Copperopolis, burning approximately one acre of grass and brush. The blaze is believed to have been caused by fireworks, according to Emily Kilgore with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). However, there was no one at the scene when officials arrived, and therefore, no citations were issued.
The second grass and brush fire ignited just after midnight near Bonds Flat Road in La Grange, burning one acre. That fire was also determined to be caused by fireworks though, again, no one was at the scene and no citations were issued.
Any possession or use of fireworks is illegal in Tuolumne County, and it is undetermined if the fireworks that started the two fires were deemed “Safe and Sane” and approved by the State Fire Marshal, Kilgore said.
A third fire burned over five acres at Telegraph Road and Highway 4 near Copperopolis. It was reported just before 1 a.m., and the cause is still under investigation.
No people or structures were harmed in any of the fires.
Additionally, Cal Fire issued two citations in the Valley Springs area for possession and use of dangerous fireworks that were not considered “Safe and Sane.”
With fireworks use likely to continue throughout the weekend, Kilgore reminded locals that fireworks are illegal within the Ebbetts Pass Fire District and that only mandated “Safe and Sane” fireworks are legal in the remainder of Calaveras County.
Kilgore added that those looking to enjoy a firework display can safely view professional shows scheduled to take place this weekend at locations like the Ironstone Amphitheatre and Pine Mountain Lake in Tuolumne County.
Those igniting fireworks at home should never place combustibles near dry vegetation, should never allow a child to light a fuse and should keep water nearby at all times, Kilgore said.