The prevalence of illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July has ignited concern, and officials in the Las Vegas Valley plan to resume efforts to crack down on them this holiday.
As part of the inter-agency “You Light It, We Write It” campaign that began last year between Clark County, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, law enforcement and fire inspector teams will patrol local neighborhoods July 4 to curb the presence of illegal fireworks.
Those found using illegal fireworks could face fines of up to $1,000 and other disposal fees, officials said.
“We’ve tried to get the word out about the need to reduce illegal fireworks,” county spokeswoman Stacey Welling said, “but in recent years the problem has really proliferated. We created this campaign to address that issue.”
County fire inspector Martin Casillas said illegal fireworks contain accelerants that launch shells into the air, creating the fireworks display and loud noise. He said these accelerants can cause fires or injuries, but legal fireworks are tested to ensure that they will not cause physical harm when used properly.
Residents are encouraged to report illegal firework usage through the website www.ISpyFireworks.com instead of calling 911, to reserve the line for life-threatening emergencies.
The complaints logged on the site, of which more than 25,000 were recorded in 2018, are not dispatched to police but rather used to identify zones of highest activity to coordinate future law enforcement.
Welling said residents also may call 311 to report illegal fireworks, but because July 4 is one of the busiest days for police and emergency dispatch, dispatchers will prioritize life-threatening emergencies.
“We know where the hot spots are from last year’s data,” County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said in a statement. “We don’t expect to catch everyone but we hope to make a bigger dent in the problem this year.”
Legal fireworks labeled “safe and sane” — which include sparklers and fireworks that remain within a small, circular space on the ground and do not explode in the air — are permitted in unincorporated areas of Clark County from July 1 to July 4.
But not all fireworks labeled “safe and sane” are legal, officials said, and officials recommend that residents purchase their fireworks from vendors authorized to sell them, such as TNT or Phantom Fireworks booths, during the authorized period.
Contact Amanda Bradford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0279. Follow @amandabrad_uc on Twitter.
For more information about the “You Light It, We Write It” campaign and to view public service announcements, visit www.YouLightItWeWriteIt.vegas.