Firefighters are urging Carson Valley residents to leave fireworks to the professionals for the Fourth of July.
This year marks 70 years since Douglas extended a ban of the sale and use of fireworks to every corner of the county.
“The ban previously applied only to the unincorporated towns in the county and to the area embraced by the Lake Tahoe fire protection district,” according to the April 25, 1952, edition of The Record-Courier.
Federal officials asked commissioners to extend the ban to reduce forest and range fires in the area.
A previous ordinance affecting the towns of Gardnerville, Minden and Genoa was approved in 1938.
In the 1950s, the penalty was a fine between $5-200, 30 days in jail or both.
These days it’s a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Members of the East Fork Professional Firefighters Association said statistics show that the number of fires doubles on July Fourth.
The Fourth is on a Monday this year, which means a substantial number of visitors will be in Douglas County, especially at Lake Tahoe.
While visitors may not realize there’s a fireworks ban across the Sierra Front, residents have occasionally been caught setting off fireworks, too.
Fireworks are responsible for an estimated 19,500 fires a year according to the National Fire Protection Association, with a fifth of those fires occurring on Independence Day.
It has been eight years since a half-dozen firefighters were injured after someone started a 250-acre wildfire near the top of Minnehaha Canyon.
Dry conditions contributed to the first major fire of the season next door to the Genoa Cemetery on June 17, which was sparked by construction.
“Everyone is painfully aware that we haven’t seen any significant moisture this year,” East Fork Chief Tod Carlini told the Local Emergency Planning Committee on June 23. “In Douglas there is significant risk and potential for fire with the vast amount of fuel that’s out there. That even includes area that have burned in prior years, which are propagating a lot of grasses.”
Fireworks are always banned across public land in Nevada administered by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Additional fire restrictions may be implemented as temperatures warm up this summer.
Professional fireworks shows are scheduled for the Fourth of July, including the return of Lights on the Lake to Stateline, one of the top-rated shows in the West.
Carson City’s RSVP is hosting a fireworks display at Mills Park. Virginia City will continue a tradition that predates Nevada’s statehood and the Civil War with a celebration of Independence Day including fireworks.