`You Light It, We Write It' Effort to Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks to be Active July Fourth Holiday

With “safe and sane” fireworks going on sale next week at permitted fireworks booths, officials are reminding the public that these are the only fireworks legal for use in Clark County and the neighboring cities, and only from June 28 through July 4, when nonprofit groups are allowed to sell them for fundraising purposes at locally licensed and inspected stands. No fireworks are allowed after midnight on July 4. 

All fireworks, including those labeled “safe and sane,” can cause fires and injuries and are a concern due to drought in the region and the ongoing threat of wildland fires. No fireworks of any kind are allowed at Clark County Wetlands Park and other local parks, or on public lands in Southern Nevada including Mount Charleston, Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon. Neighborhood concerns about noise, litter, and the use of illegal fireworks purchased outside the Las Vegas Valley also are common. The noise from illegal fireworks troubles veterans and others suffering from PTSD and scares animals and pets.

“Illegal fireworks are especially dangerous in our dry climate, and we are asking people to not buy them for use anywhere in Clark County,” said Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck. “We encourage people who want to celebrate with fireworks to only use the `safe and sane’ type sold at local stands with careful adult supervision and to leave the big shows to the professionals that go through a permitting process to host them at community events.”

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 sales period. 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. “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.

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. Partners in the “You Light It, We Write It” effort include Clark County, area cities, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Nevada Highway Patrol. Enforcement teams comprised of fire inspectors from the County and city of Las Vegas and Metro patrol officers will be out again this year over the July Fourth holiday weekend to crack down on the use and possession of illegal fireworks in local neighborhoods.

As part of the “You Light It, We Write It” effort, the public also is asked to report usage complaints about illegal fireworks online at www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911. Complaints logged on the ISpy 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 June 28 – July 4, including 13,447 on July 4.

“LVMPD will be partnering with both county and city fire inspectors this Fourth of July weekend and plan on conducting enforcement efforts in neighborhoods that have experienced fires related to illegal firework activity along with documented locations that have had prior reported complaints throughout the valley,” said Metro Captain Timothy Hatchett. “The Fourth of July is one of the busiest nights of the year in Las Vegas. We encourage people to report illegal fireworks online and leave 9-1-1 open for police and fire emergencies.”  

A list of professional fireworks shows pending with the Clark County Fire Department Fire Prevention Division is posted on the “You Light It, We Write It” campaign website. Residents also can obtain campaign flyers, TV PSAs and other items in English and Spanish on the website.  One PSA features interviews with local residents, including a 1 October survivor, affected by the sudden and unexpected 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. The website also lists 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.

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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 8th-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.