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Public Asked to Keep Fireworks Celebrations `Safe & Sane’

You Light It, We Write It’ Effort to Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks to Resume Over July 4th Holiday

 

With the Fourth of July holiday coming soon, Clark County, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the city of Las Vegas and partnering agencies are reminding the public to follow the rules regarding fireworks.

 

“Safe and sane” fireworks are the only type of consumer fireworks allowed in Clark County and the local cities and only from June 28 through July 4 each year when nonprofit groups are allowed to sell them for fundraising purposes at locally licensed and inspected stands.  The inter-agency “You Light It, We Write It” campaign to educate the public about what’s allowed and not allowed – and the penalties if caught using illegal fireworks – will be active over the Fourth of July holiday. Information about the initiative is available at www.YouLightItWeWriteIt.Vegas.

 

Offenders caught using illegal fireworks in unincorporated County areas and the city of Las Vegas face a minimum fine of $500. Legislation approved in 2021 by the Nevada State Legislature allows for fines of up to $10,000 for large amounts of illegal fireworks found within the community.                                      

All fireworks, including those labeled “safe and sane,” are a concern during the spring and summer when the threat of wildland fire is highest in Southern Nevada. Neighborhood concerns about noise, litter and the use of illegal fireworks purchased outside the Las Vegas Valley are common. No fireworks of any kind are allowed at Clark County Wetlands Park and other local parks, or on public lands in the region including Mount Charleston, Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon. Officials say the best way to ensure that fireworks are legal is to buy them from local vendors permitted to sell “safe and sane” fireworks during the authorized sales period. “Safe and sane” fireworks include sparklers and fireworks that keep to a small, circular area on the ground and don’t explode in the air.  Illegal fireworks include firecrackers, Roman candles, and sky rockets – anything made of highly combustible materials. Fireworks purchased from vendors located outside Clark County are likely to be illegal including those purchased from vendors in Pahrump and Amargosa Valley and from the Moapa Band of Paiutes.

 

“We want everyone to enjoy a happy and safe Fourth of July, but the use of illegal fireworks is a serious problem that we need the community’s cooperation to solve,” said Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “They can cause fires and injuries and many people and pets are highly sensitive to the loud explosions caused by fireworks. We are asking people to only use safe and sane fireworks as part of your family celebrations and to please leave the big shows to the pros.”

 

As part of the “You Light It, We Write It” effort, the public is asked to report usage complaints about illegal fireworks online at www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911. The misuse of 911 to report fireworks complaints, instead of life-threatening emergencies, can bog down the local police and fire dispatch center and can reduce response times to emergencies.  The public may call 311 to report illegal firework complaints but responses are prioritized based on available resources, especially on busy nights like July 4.

 

“The Fourth of July is one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency responders and it’s important to keep 911 free to report life-threatening emergencies,” said Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck. “We encourage the public to report complaints about the use of illegal fireworks in neighborhoods to the ISpy website as an alternative. The data helps us track the problem.”

 

Complaints logged on the ISpy site are for data collection purposes only – they do not result in a police dispatch but the data is used to track trouble spots and plan law enforcement efforts. In 2023, the site logged 12,463 complaints from June 28 – July 4, including 10,199 on July 4.  The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will be working with Clark County and city of Las Vegas fire department inspector teams to confiscate illegal fireworks and cite offenders caught using them.

 

“Each year the 4th of July is one of the busiest days of the year for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department,” said Metro Captain William Matchko. “To support the vision of being the safest community in America, this operation is aimed at increasing public safety, combatting the dangers of illegal fireworks and lowering the crime within our community. In a joint effort, we will conduct enforcement in the days leading to the holiday and on the 4th of July. We remind the community to enjoy the holiday in a safe and responsible manner.”

There are 110 booths in Clark County and 71 in the city of Las Vegas permitted to sell “safe and sane” fireworks this year. Fireworks sold at neighborhood TNT or Phantom Fireworks stands by nonprofit organizations have been tested and approved by local fire departments to ensure they don’t leak, burn too hot or project too high in the sky.

 

“As a fire chief, I have witnessed life-altering accidents caused by illegal fireworks,” said Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Chief Fernando Gray Sr. “While we understand this is a festive day, we ask for the public's assistance in keeping our community safe during the Fourth of July.”

 

A list of professional fireworks shows pending with the Clark County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division is posted on the “You Light It, We Write It” campaign website and is updated as the holiday approaches. Fliers, TV PSAs and other items in English and Spanish are on the campaign’s website.  One PSA features interviews with local residents, including a 1 October survivor, affected by the noise from illegal fireworks. Another PSA, produced with assistance from The Animal Foundation, highlights the impact that the use of illegal fireworks has on pets. The shelter’s population typically increases by hundreds of pets over the Fourth of July holiday because of fear and anxiety caused by the noise.  Most of the lost pets are never reclaimed.

 

Officials also caution that all fireworks can be dangerous, even those labeled “safe and sane.” The following safety tips are recommended for those who plan to celebrate with fireworks:

  • Closely supervise children and pets; maintaining a distance away from the fireworks that are being ignited minimizes the possibility of injury. Do not let children ignite fireworks.

  • Be courteous: Let your neighbors know ahead of time if you plan to celebrate with fireworks so the noise doesn’t surprise them. Clean up litter left behind by fireworks.

  • Be prepared in case of fire. Have a pre-connected garden hose handy.

  • Use fireworks on flat, hard surfaces such as parking lots and cul-de-sacs away from buildings, vehicles, dry brush and bystanders.

  • Place discharged fireworks into a bucket of water overnight to make certain they do not re-ignite.

  • Beware of sparklers. These can be popular items to give to young children, but they can cause clothes to catch fire and serious burns.                                

  • Coordinate lighting the items so that everyone in the group anticipates when they will be set off and won’t be surprised.                                


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