The Fourth of July is right around the corner. Many people are itching to start purchasing supplies to set off their firework display on their property. The question is, are you allowed to purchase and set off fireworks on your own in California?
California’s state government is content to allow you to use what they consider “safe and sane fireworks. Don’t think this gives you the right to set off fireworks whenever and wherever you choose.
The first thing to keep in mind is that unless you have a special permit, you aren’t legally allowed to purchase any fireworks in California that aren’t specifically labeled “safe and sane.” The state’s fire marshall also maintains a list of fireworks that they have declared can be legally purchased and set off by you.
Sparklers are a perfect example of how quickly a firework that seems perfectly safe to you can quickly become illegal. Strictly speaking, you can use a sparkler in California, provided that the sparkler isn’t ten or more inches long or more than a quarter inch in diameter. If you do find some of these larger sparklers, you can’t legally purchase or use them.
The state also limits the number of days you can legally purchase fireworks in California. Licensed fireworks retailers are only allowed to sell fireworks from June 28-July 6. The state is so strict about the timetable that all of the fireworks retail licenses expire at exactly noon on July 6.
Don’t assume that just because you have purchased some safe and sane fireworks you’re free to set them off in your backyard. Before doing so, you will need to check with your local township, city, or county government and make sure that they don’t have any ordinances that would make it illegal for you to enjoy your newly acquired fireworks. In many situations, the time frame that you are allowed to set off your own fireworks is regulated.