With the July 4 celebration on Thursday, Sheriff Ken Furlong and Fire Chief Sean Slamon are reminding people that fireworks are illegal in Carson City.
“All fireworks are illegal to use in the streets or in the yard, even on your own property,” said Furlong.
Slamon said there are always a few people who come into town and don’t know or who disregard the ban.
“We live in a beautiful area but with that beauty comes a lot of grass and trees and the potential for major disaster is very high,” he said.
Both men said the grasses and landscape may look green but that hot weather and winds have dried those grasses, making them extremely flammable. Western Nevada has been under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger much of the past week.
“While it seems all the grass is green, the fact of the matter is brush fires can be sparked very easily by fireworks and can turn into a tragic event for Carson City,” said Furlong.
Slamon said Thursday’s brush fire north of the junior high in a field along Ormsby Boulevard is a good example. Fanned by winds, the blaze consumed three acres before firemen put it out.
Under the Carson City Municipal Code, violators can be cited and face a possible penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Slamon said those responsible also face paying the cost of any property damage and, if their fireworks cause a wildfire, can be liable for the costs of fighting the fire that can quickly run into thousands of dollars.
Furlong said violators will be cited and can have their fireworks seized.
There was just one fire that was caused by fireworks in the south part of town a year ago. That fire was confined to a tree and fire crews quickly extinguished it.
Slamon said that indicates that people were listening to their warnings last year. He said he hopes they’re listening this year as well.
Furlong too said he hopes people will pay attention to the warnings given the predictions for hot and windy weather this coming week.
Slamon said the potential for injury is very high as well adding that even a simple sparkler will burn at higher than 1,000 degrees.
In addition to injuries, he said on a hot day, too many people fail to properly hydrate while others “imbibe in a few too many adult beverages.”
He said July 4 is the fire department’s busiest day of the year with more than double the normal number of calls — sometimes over 60.
“For three pumpers and three ambulances, that’s a really busy day,” he said.
“We know there are going to be fireworks,” said Furlong. “Every year we are consumed with reports of shots fired and fireworks. It’s an enormous burden of work for both the sheriff’s department and the fire department.”