Fireworks illegal in Sierra Front
The Fourth of July is Tuesday, which means some residents will be tempted to stage their own fireworks shows.
Personal fireworks have been illegal in Douglas County for nearly 80 years.
“Holiday fireworks are not allowed in the county,” said East Fork Fire Marshal Steve Eisele. “They are illegal to discharge and possess.”
The ordinance prohibiting the possession and use of fireworks dates back to 1938, according to The Record-Courier.
Possession and use of fireworks is a misdemeanor with penalties of a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. In addition to the criminal penalty, violators may be held accountable for damage done by fireworks.
“With the high fire danger, wet winter and abundance of grasses we have and a couple of weeks of 90-plus days, fuels ready to burn,” he said. “We’re not getting humidity recovery at night, and those materials are going to be easily ignitable.”
It’s not just grass in the wildlands that’s ready to burn.
“There are the shake roofs on houses in residential areas like the whole Gardnerville Ranchos,” Eisele said.
Fireworks burn at temperatures that can easily ignite wooden shingles and burn down a house.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires.
Eisele said residents who want to dispose of fireworks may bring them to the offices of the East Fork Fire District at 1694 County Road. Call 782-9040 for more information.
Some people will be taking advantage of the Fourth to enjoy the wilderness.
“People will be using the Pine Nuts and the outdoors,” Eisele said. “People need to be very cautions parking vehicles, or handling any type of hot materials, such as campfires or cigarettes with the very tall grass crop we all need to be cautious enjoying the outdoors.”
The Sierra Front has seen several fires started by target shooting.
“It’s a sign of how dry the fuels are that these shooting occurrences are becoming so frequent,” he said. “Anyone out shooting should be in a designated area, and should be taking all the precautions.”
Eisele said that means being careful with steel targets and not shooting into rocky hillsides.
Fire restrictions were issued Friday for federal and state lands in Northern Nevada. The Carson Ranger District has implemented a shooting ban on U.S. Forest Service land through Sept. 30 due to the large number of fires suspected of being caused by target shooting.
Eisele said defensible space is the best way for residents to preserve their homes in a wildland fire.
However, he said residents should work in the cool of the morning, and be careful with tools that might give off a spark and ignite grass or weeds in the hot portion of the day.