Officials are reminding the public that the "You Light It, We Write It" inter-agency effort to crack down on the use of illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas Valley will resume over this year's Fourth of July holiday. Information about the initiative is available at www.YouLightItWeWriteIt.Vegas.
Only fireworks labeled "safe and sane" are allowed and only from July 1 through July 4 in unincorporated areas of Clark County when locally licensed and inspected fireworks stands are permitted to sell them. Teams of police and fire inspectors from the County, city of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas will be fanning out in local neighborhoods over the July Fourth holiday to crack down on the possession and firing of illegal fireworks. Offenders caught using illegal fireworks may be subject to citations of up to $1,000 and possible fireworks disposal fees.
"Illegal fireworks are all fun and games until someone's house burns down or someone gets hurt," said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. "We will resume our efforts to crack down on the use of illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas Valley over the Fourth of July. We know where the hot spots are from last year's data. We don't expect to catch everyone but we hope to make a bigger dent in the problem this year."
As part of the "You Light It, We Write It" effort over the July Fourth holiday, the public is encouraged to report illegal fireworks complaints online at www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911 or 311. In 2018, the ISpy site logged more than 25,000 complaints. Reports to the ISpy website do not result in a police dispatch. Instead, the data is used to document problem areas and plan law future enforcement efforts. Officials are reminding the public as part of the campaign that 911 should only be used to report life-threatening police, fire and medical emergencies. The public may call 311, the police non-emergency number, to report illegal fireworks usage complaints but callers are asked to exercise patience, especially on busy nights like the Fourth of July, when dispatchers must prioritize emergency responses.
"We want everyone to enjoy a happy Fourth of July but the use and abuse of illegal fireworks present serious public safety hazards in our community," said Clark County Commission Vice Chairman Lawrence Weekly. "The risk of fires and injuries is significant, and the misuse of 911 to complain about illegal fireworks could delay responses to serious accidents and other emergencies."
Noise from fireworks often poses a serious nuisance and hardship to senior citizens, pets, veterans and people suffering from post-traumatic stress. Fireworks cause an average of 18,500 fires per year in the United States, $43 million in property damage, and they caused 13,000 injuries last year. Partners in the "You Light It, We Write It" initiative include Clark County, the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada Highway Patrol and the Nevada State Fire Marshal Division.
Residents are encouraged to learn about the initiative by visiting the campaign's website and sharing information about the effort with friends and neighbors. Campaign fliers in English and Spanish, fireworks safety tips, and other materials are available on the site. In addition, Clark County plans to mail out letters to residents living in neighborhoods in the Las Vegas Valley that registered the most complaints on the ISpyFireworks website last year to remind them of the "You Light It" effort and upcoming enforcement efforts.
Public Service Announcements for radio and TV also are available, including one produced with assistance from The Animal Foundation to highlight 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 illegal fireworks noise. Most of the lost pets are never reclaimed. The TV PSAs are posted on the "You Light It" website and Clark County's YouTube site, and will be shared widely with local news media and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram NextDoor and other social media sites. The public can help spread the word about the effort by sharing agencies' content on social media and using the hashtag #youlightitwewriteit. Additionally, for residents wishing to see professional fireworks shows over the holiday, the dates and locations will be updated regularly on the campaign website as shows are permitted and approved.
"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 – any item made of highly combustible materials. Not all fireworks labeled "safe and sane" are legal in Clark County and its cities. 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, and the booths are inspected over the holiday for compliance.
Any 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. Fireworks purchased at the Moapa Band of Paiutes Travel Plaza can be legally shot off from a designated launch pad outside the store. No fireworks of any kind are allowed at Mount Charleston, Lake Mead, Red Rock or other public lands areas in the region.