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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 9:07 pm | Fair 48º


In Santa Barbara County, ‘Safe and Sane’ Fireworks Legal Only in Santa Maria, Guadalupe

Local police and fire officials urge residents to instead attend one of many professional fireworks displays planned for Wednesday

As the Fourth of July draws nearer, yearly stands peddling so-called “safe and sane” fireworks have begun to spring up in Santa Maria and Guadalupe.

While illegal in most of Santa Barbara County, these State Fire Marshal-approved fireworks are legally sold only in Santa Maria and Guadalupe, and cannot be legally transported to or set off in any other city in Santa Barbara County. There are 22 designated firework stands in Santa Maria, and all are run by local nonprofit organizations as fundraisers.

The distinction between legal and illegal fireworks comes mainly in the fact that “safe and sane” fireworks do not propel into the air or explode, officials said. While all other types of explosive fireworks are banned across the state, the legality of this supposedly safer brand depends on city or county ordinance.

Outside of Santa Barbara County, “safe and sane” fireworks are also legal in Fillmore, Grover Beach, Oceano and Arroyo Grande.

According to the Santa Maria Fire Department, the sale of such fireworks is permitted only within the one-week period between Thursday, July 28 and Thursday, July 5, and all fireworks must be purchased from designated stands. These fireworks cannot be taken outside of the city limits of Guadalupe or Santa Maria.

The Santa Maria Fire Department has also issued a list of guidelines to be followed in order to ensure the safe use of fireworks and encourages anyone partaking to use caution.

Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood said anyone caught in possession of fireworks of any kind within the city limits could face misdemeanor charges or even felony charges, and could be issued a citation of up to $1,000.

Additionally, the Santa Maria Fire Department has warned that possession of more than a pound of illegal fireworks constitutes a state felony, and violators could face jail time.

Harwood said most available Santa Barbara police officers are likely to be on duty for the holiday, and there will be around 100 officers stationed at the waterfront area around West Beach by Cabrillo Boulevard.

Rather than purchasing and setting off individual fireworks, local police and fire departments are encouraging residents to instead attend one of the many professional firework displays planned across the area Wednesday night. The Santa Barbara waterfront fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. at West Beach.

To report the use of illegal fireworks in Santa Maria, call the Fire Department’s firework hotline anonymously at 805.925.0951, x3473.

Noozhawk intern Patrick Kulp can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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