With the July 4 weekend coming up, booths are selling fireworks again in Calaveras County at a particularly warm and dry time of year.
Residents don’t have the usual options for fireworks shows this year, and, as per usual, local fire chiefs are asking property owners to stay safe this Independence Day.
The normally well-attended New Hogan Lake fireworks show was postponed due to COVID-19-related concerns, according to Shannon Todd, who works with the Valley Springs Booster Club to put on the event.
Todd said the club is hoping to reschedule the event for Labor Day and has requested a special use permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We postponed it because getting the special use permit was not going to happen through the Army Corps and with everyone’s concerns right now, we thought it would be more successful and ready to have the celebration by Labor Day,” Todd said.
Ironstone Vineyards announced its annual fireworks event would be postponed to next year.
ABC 10 reported earlier this month that many fireworks booths were planning on opening across California June 28 with social distancing procedures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As for fireworks safety, Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Rich Dickinson said residents should never use fireworks near dry grass, only light one at a time and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby.
“Drinking and fireworks do not mix well,” Dickinson advised.
Residents should only be using “safe and sane” fireworks, or those that don’t fly or explode, Dickinson said.
“Parents need to understand they are liable (for) any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks,” Dickinson added.
Safe and sane fireworks are allowed everywhere in Calaveras County, with the exception of the Ebbetts Pass Fire Protection District.
In the neighboring counties of Amador and Tuolumne, possession of fireworks of any kind is illegal.
Expect to be fined up to $50,000 and spend up to one year in jail if caught with illegal fireworks, Dickinson said.
Per the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), dangerous fireworks include firecrackers, skyrockets, rockets, devices which employ combustible or explosive material and rise in the air, roman candles, devices which discharge balls of fire and sparklers greater than ten inches in length or 1/4 inch in diameter.