Every year, fireworks injure people and destroy property, as well as pose a risk of wildfire during fire season. Before you head off to celebrate the weekend, stop and make sure you know the laws regarding fireworks in the city and the Angeles National Forest and are prepared to have a safe, fun 4th of July.
All fireworks are illegal within the City of Santa Clarita. The only fireworks allowed are those which are part of shows presented by pyrotechnic professionals.
“July 4th is a celebration of America ’s freedom – but with our freedom comes responsibility,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “The holidays should be celebrated safely and responsibly with family and friends. Fireworks of any type are illegal in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and good judgment and caution should be used in municipalities where they are legal.”
The penalties for possession or use of fireworks can range from a fine of up to $1000 to confinement in a County jail for up to one year. It is a felony to possess products such as M-80’s and M-100’s. The penalties can be as high as 16 months in state prison.
Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks.
In the Angeles National Forest, possession or use of fireworks, including the “safe and sane” variety, is prohibited at all times. Forest patrols on Independence Day weekend will strictly enforce the “no fireworks” policy. A violation of the federal law can result in a $5,000 fine or six months in jail.
The forest fire-danger level was recently raised from “Low” to “High” to enhance public awareness that fire-risk conditions are rising with warmer weather and drier local vegetation. Anyone causing a wildfire is liable for costs of suppressing the fire.
Multiple areas in the forest were recently reopened to visitor recreation including the Magic Mountain Wilderness, majorities of Pleasant View Wilderness, West Fork of the San Gabriel River, Rincon Shortcut Road, Millard Campground, Monte Cristo Campground, and Hidden Springs Day Use Area. Chilao, Bandito, Horse Flats, Meadow Loop, Manzanita Loop, and Coulter recreation areas have also been opened.
Due to risk posed by fireworks, some city and county jurisdictions adjacent to the Angeles forest are limiting some roads to walk-in traffic only. Glendora Mountain Road and Glendora Ridge Road will closed to vehicles at 10 a.m. July 2 and will reopen 10 a.m. July 5. Gates to Chantry Flat and Chaney Trail will be closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to vehicles, but bicyclists and those on foot will be allowed.
Here are some helpful hints from a local hospital for a safe July 4:
No. 5. Water rules. Each year, 4,000 Americans drown, with young children having the highest risk. Never leave children alone near water. Go to beaches with lifeguards and ask where safe swimming areas are. “Child drownings can happen in a matter of seconds. Simple steps like making sure that kids are monitored at all times and wearing the proper personal flotation device can prevent a drowning,” advises Dr. Hrak Derderian, Emergency Doctor for Valley Presbyterian Hospital.
No. 4. Beat the Heat: Shun the sun. Limit time outside when the sun’s rays are strongest: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apply sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher every two hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in the shade, and wear cool clothing. “Watch for warning signs of heat exhaustion: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, fainting,” says Dr. Derderian. “Heatstroke is an emergency and warning signs include high body temperature, red skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, headache, nausea and confusion. If there are any of these signs, call for medical help.”
No. 3. Foil food poisoning. Summer picnics are a prime time for food borne illness. Keep foods at the right temperature. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate utensils and dishes for raw and cooked foods. Wash your hands before touching food. And be sure to cook those burgers, hot dogs and steaks thoroughly. “Symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps, and generally start 4 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration,” Dr. Derderian advises.
No. 2. Drive safely. AAA is predicting a big increase in holiday travel. Be aware of other motorists and road conditions. Use seatbelts, don’t text and drive, and don’t use your cellphone without a hands-free device. “We see a lot of accidents due to drunk driving, especially during the 4th of July. Be responsible and have a designated driver,” Dr. Derderian says.
No. 1. Watch the fireworks. Fireworks are illegal in many places, including most communities in Los Angeles County. Still, each year thousands are injured while using them. Show your patriotism by watching one of the more than a dozen professional fireworks shows across LA County: www.safejuly4th.org