Living with climate change: Fireworks

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

Governments and businesses can still take bold action to limit global warming, but average temperatures are already rising. As climate change worsens, extreme weather will be more frequent and intense. This blog looks at what you can do to prepare.

A certain holiday associated with small explosives is coming up. And climate change means California is at greater risk of more wildfires and bigger ones. Don’t start any!

Cal Fire encourages people to seek alternatives to setting off their own fireworks. Consider watching a professional fireworks show, where materials are inspected for safety. Or play with non-sparking light-emitting things. This year, the California State Fair is putting on a drone show instead of shooting sparks into the sky.

If you insist on setting off fireworks, first confirm they’re allowed where you live. Locally, areas including El Dorado County, Auburn and unincorporated parts of Placer County ban the use of fireworks by non-professionals, according to Cal Fire.

State law requires you only buy fireworks with a “Safe and Sane” label. They meet state standards based on how far they throw sparks, the quantity of sparks and whether they scoot across the ground or go airborne, says Scott McLean, Cal Fire deputy chief of communications.

Don’t set off fireworks inside or near a dry field. Don’t leave children unattended. McLean recommends cul-de-sacs because they offer a lot of concrete that can be cleared of anything flammable. Move cars away.

Fireworks can cause house fires by throwing sparks at material such as dry leaves. You should clear dry leaves anyway to create defensible space against any source of fire.

Happy Fourth of July. And don’t be stupid.

This is a series about emergency preparedness. The author can be reached at

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