Fireworks: Illegal and extremely dangerous in Washoe County
Reminder about the importance of safety during the holiday weekend from Washoe County's public safety agencies.

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Adam Mayberry

Reposted on behalf of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office

Reno, Nevada. June 29, 2016. Hot weather and extremely dry conditions continue to raise serious concerns about fire danger as we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and North Lake Tahoe Fire District to emphasize putting safety first when enjoying your Independence Day celebration.

"It is very important for our citizens to know that the use of fireworks is not only illegal, but significantly very dangerous given the extremely dry conditions and hot temperatures in our region," Sheriff Chuck Allen said.  "Also, please do not forget that tossing a lit cigarette out of a motor vehicle is just as dangerous given those same circumstances, especially with the number of fires already being investigated throughout our county."

Capable of reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, fireworks are hot enough to cause third degree burns and can cause severe injury, especially to children. They are also capable of igniting wildland fires in dry brush and trees.

“Our area is very hot and the brush is dry,” Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charles Moore said. “The use of fireworks increases the chances of a wildland fire in the area, putting residents and firefighters at risk. Enjoy your time with friends and family at a professional fireworks show. Remember to be fire safe while celebrating the Fourth of July.”

While it may be legal to purchase fireworks in some locations outside of Washoe County and on Tribal Lands, it is illegal to possess or use fireworks and/or pyrotechnics within the Truckee Meadows and North Lake Tahoe Fire Districts which includes the unincorporated areas of Washoe County.

Illegal possession or use of fireworks can result in fines up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail for each offense. In addition, the cost of suppression, and any other injury or liability caused by fireworks, are the direct responsibility of those persons using fireworks.

North Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Ryan Sommers also emphasized the importance of leaving fireworks to the professionals.

“Residents and visitors to the Incline Village area can watch a great professional fireworks show on the Fourth of July,” Chief Sommers said.  “Please leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals in order to minimize the risk for catastrophic fires in the Lake Tahoe Basin.”

 Tips for a fire-safe Fourth of July include:

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by professionals.
  • Extinguish cigarettes in proper designated receptacles.
  • Give children glow sticks to replace sparklers. Glow sticks are a great alternative that they can use for days.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Never leave young children alone with an open flame.
  • Teach children that fireworks are not toys. Explain the dangers and ask your children to tell an adult if they find fireworks or another child playing with them.
  • Turn fireworks in to any Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District or North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District fire station at any time without penalty.

Sheriff Allen said that the Sheriff’s Office will have additional patrol staff working during the holiday in an effort to provide the highest level of service during what is anticipated to be a busy weekend.

To report illegal fireworks activity, contact the Sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch at (775) 785-WCSO.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Chuck Allen is the 26th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Regional Intelligence Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process and traditional street patrols.

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Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »