As July 4th approaches, it got me thinking of wildfire preparedness. Growing up in Nevada and celebrating Independence Day was about enjoying barbequed food with friends and family and settling down in lawn chairs to enjoy a professional fireworks display in the evening sky. However my husband’s upbringing in Oregon proved to be much different.
He said, “We celebrated the 4th of July by lighting our own fireworks. Rows of homes in the neighborhood would participate simultaneously. I remember sitting on the lawn in our front yard and taking turns lighting fireworks. When I moved to Washoe County, with a few exceptions such as tribal lands, I realized that fireworks weren’t sold at local stores and was shocked to learn that fireworks were illegal.”
Newcomers, visitors and even some residents don’t realize that fireworks are illegal in the majority of Nevada. Besides Clark County (legal to possess “safe and sane” fireworks) , Esmeralda County (allowed one mile out of any town), Lander County, (permitted outside of the townships) and tribal lands (can be purchased there, but once the fireworks leave tribal lands, they can and will be confiscated) fireworks are illegal to possess and use.
Fireworks don’t bode well in our high fire-prone areas. The 2008 Ridgecrest Fire, started by children playing with fireworks, destroyed four homes. Fine fuels like cheatgrass are plentiful in our region and are dried out at this time of the year. Cheatgrass is an example of an invasive grass that is highly flammable. It’s advised to remove this flammable grass. Learn how to remove cheatgrass safely and properly .
Nevada State Fire Marshal Bart J Chambers says, “The safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show and there are many being held in Nevada this year. Look for these events in local area newspapers, websites and television and radio announcements. Please enjoy and have a very safe 4th of July Holiday with your friends and family.”
As we celebrate Independence Day, let this be a reminder for locals, visitors and newcomers that fireworks are illegal in most Nevada counties, to please leave the fireworks displays up to the professionals and that residents should prepare for wildfire. Learn how to prepare for wildfire as reviewed in the June 2018 Living With Fire blog.
Jamie Roice-Gomes is the outreach coordinator with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living with Fire Program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a Master of Arts in Interactive Environmental Journalism. She was a public relations assistant for Conrad Communications, a public information officer intern at the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and a Biological Science Technician at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service. She also enjoys volleyball, the Great Basin Desert, and spending time with family. Contact Jamie at 775-336-0261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.