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5 things to know about fireworks in Sacramento

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Sacramento Bee interns review the best TNT and Phantom fireworks for 2017
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Sacramento Bee interns review the best TNT and Phantom fireworks for 2017

Independence Day and fireworks are synonymous with each other. It’s nearly impossible to think about one without the other.

And in California, week leading up to July 4 is the only time that fireworks are allowed to be sold. The official selling period for California starts on June 28 and ends on July 6, according to a document from firework retailer TNT.

People can use “Safe and Sane” fireworks starting at 12 p.m. on Wednesday through July 4 in Sacramento, according to the city’s website.

Here are five things you should know about fireworks in Sacramento:

1. Be sure to keep your pets in a safe location where they won’t be able to escape.

In early June, Sacramento’s Front Street Animal shelter announced a promotion to waive adoption fees throughout the month. One of the reasons? The fireworks shot off on July 4.

Shelter public relations coordinator Bobby Mann said the animal shelter expects an influx of animals in July.

““Fourth of July season is busiest time of year, due to (animals) running away from fireworks,” Mann said. “We are expecting a high volume of animals during that time and we wanted to stay ahead of that to make space.”

The city recommends that pet owners keep them in a safe and secure location, away from firework activity.

2. Yes, there are illegal fireworks. And there are harsh penalties if you have them.

The state defines an illegal firework as anything that goes up in the air or explodes, according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire said that illegal fireworks are responsible for “almost all of the fireworks-caused fires and injuries each year.”

And there are fines for possessing illegal fireworks, which are based on total gross weight:

  • Less than 25 pounds: misdemeanor, $500 to $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both fine and imprisonment.
  • Between 25 and 100 pounds: misdemeanor, $1,000 to $5,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both fine and imprisonment.
  • Between 100 and 5,000 pounds: prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor - $5,000 to $10,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both fine and imprisonment.
  • More than 5,000 pounds: prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor - $10,000 - $50,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both fine and imprisonment.

3. Fireworks are completely banned in some Sacramento-area communities.

While California has taken action to ban illegal fireworks, some Sacramento-area communities have simply banned fireworks, even the ones with the “Safe and Sane” label, altogether.

Here’s a list of communities where fireworks are banned outright:

  • El Dorado County
  • Unincorporated Placer County
  • Unincorporated Nevada County
  • Grass Valley
  • Davis
  • Granite Bay
  • Auburn
  • Loomis
  • Meadow Vista
  • Colfax

4. Beware of selling or buying fireworks on Craigslist.

There were several Craigslist advertisements selling illegal fireworks posted as recently as two weeks ago, according to Cal Fire.

Not only is the possession of illegal fireworks prohibited, but selling fireworks and explosives on Craigslist goes against the website’s terms of use, according to Cal Fire.

There are still plenty of other places where you can buy fireworks. There are 30 TNT stands opening up and another 50 Phantom stands across Sacramento, according to their websites.

5. You can buy fireworks from local nonprofits.

Over 3,000 nonprofits in 296 communities throughout California benefit from selling state-approved fireworks. Every year, they raise about $35 million that they use to benefit their communities, according to the Greater Sacramento Area Fireworks Safety Task Force.

Back in 2008, the Willow Oak Fire Department in Yolo County used the proceeds they received from selling fireworks to purchase a fire engine, which they used in Yolo County and in other places throughout the state to help fight wildfires.

Nonprofits throughout the state have used the proceeds from selling fireworks for other reasons: Providing assistance for kids to participate in the Special Olympics, promoting anti-drug messaging to schools and providing kids with musical education.

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