With the July Fourth holiday fast approaching, Clark County and partnering agencies are asking 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 July Fourth holiday. Information about the initiative is available at www.YouLightItWeWriteIt.Vegas. Starting this year, offenders caught using illegal fireworks in unincorporated County areas will face an increased minimum fine of $500, up from $250. The Nevada State Legislature authorized the County to increase the fines for illegal fireworks during the 2021 session. The legislation allows for fines of up to $10,000 for large amounts of illegal fireworks found within the community.
“The use of illegal fireworks in neighborhoods over the Fourth of July has been a growing problem that we need the community’s help to solve,” said Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who has been active in working to address the issue. “As residents come and go from the Las Vegas Valley in upcoming weeks, we ask you not to buy illegal fireworks sold by vendors outside our area for use here. If you plan to use fireworks in your family celebrations, please only buy safe and sane fireworks from the local booths that are approved to operate over the holiday.”
All fireworks, including those labeled “safe and sane,” are a concern during the spring and summer months 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 caution that even approved “safe and sane” fireworks can cause fires and injuries and should only be used with adult supervision.
In addition to the County, partners in the “You Light It, We Write It” effort include the area cities, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Nevada Highway Patrol. As part of the effort, the public is asked to report illegal fireworks complaints online at www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911. Complaints logged on the ISpy fireworks site are for data collection purposes only – they do not result in a police dispatch. The misuse of 911 to report fireworks complaints, instead of life-threatening emergencies, bogs 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. In 2021, the ISpy site logged 21,134 complaints from June 28 – July 4, including 13,447 on July 4.
“July Fourth is one of our busiest nights of the year for accidents and fires,” said Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck. “We need the public’s support in keeping celebrations safe and sane, and we also need to remind the public not to call 911 to report complaints about illegal fireworks because 911 should only be used to report life-threatening emergencies.”
Officials say the best way to ensure that fireworks aren’t illegal is to buy them from local vendors authorized to sell “safe and sane” fireworks during the permitted, seven-day sales period that beings June 28. No fireworks are allowed after midnight on July 4. Fireworks sold at TNT or Phantom Fireworks booths this season have been tested and approved in the local jurisdictions to ensure they don’t leak, burn too hot or project too high in the sky. The sales booths are inspected over the holiday for compliance. “Safe and sane” fireworks generally 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, Amargosa Valley and the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
Residents are encouraged to support the annual “You Light It, We Write It” effort by sharing information about the campaign with friends and neighbors. Flyers and TV PSAs in English and Spanish are available on the campaign’s website, along with a list of professional fireworks shows that gets updated regularly as the holiday approaches. Residents also are encouraged to support the campaign by sharing participating agencies’ content on social media and using the hashtag #youlightitwewriteit. The website offers safety tips for people planning to use safe and sane fireworks. Recommendations include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Beware of sparklers. These can be popular items to give 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.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.3 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 7th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.