The Fourth of July holiday is a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy your favorite recreational activity with friends and family on the Monongahela National Forest. Remember to bring your camera, but please leave fireworks at home. Possessing, igniting, discharging or using any kind of fireworks is prohibited on National Forest System lands.
“Setting off fireworks in the Forest is not only illegal, it is also a hazardous activity that can lead to injury and wildfires,” said Cameron Crisp, Central Appalachian Fire Dispatch Center Manager based on the Monongahela National Forest. Crisp encourages forest visitors to check with local communities for fireworks displays.
The use or possession of fireworks on National Forest System lands is subject to confiscation and fines of up to $5,000 for an individual, $10,000 for an organization and/or up to six months in jail. In addition, anyone found responsible for starting a wildfire can be held civilly and criminally liable.
The WV State Fire Marshal’s Office wants to wish everyone a very happy and safe upcoming Fourth of July Holiday, and remind residents and visitors to buy and use consumer fireworks in a safe manner.
The fireworks that are legally allowed to be sold by these retailers include:
- Hand-held and ground-based sparkling devices, such as sparklers, novelties, toy caps and model rockets, bottle rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter and aerial spinners, roman candles, multi-aerial mine and shell devices, aerial shell kits, reloadable and firecrackers.
Most importantly, the Fire Marshal’s Office wants to remind West Virginians about fireworks safety this year.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following firework safety tips for July 4th:
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- Have a designated shooter organize and shoot your family show.
- Parents and caretakers must closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
- Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
- Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
- Obey local laws.
- Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
- Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
West Virginians must also obey local laws. Municipalities can ban the use of consumer fireworks or implement their own restrictions, such as when during the day that fireworks can be set off. West Virginians should check to see if their city or town has any restrictions before using fireworks.
Celebrate America’s 242nd birthday safely this year so you can enjoy may more Independence Days to come.
For further information go to www.firemarshal.wv.gov, http://www.celebratesafely.org/, http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire-and-seasonal-fires/fireworks.