Fire chief reminds ‘no tolerance’

By: ToLewis, The Placer Herald
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Rocklin fire officials warn of a “zero tolerance” policy regarding the use of fireworks in the city during this Fourth of July season. According to Rocklin Fire Chief Bill Mikesell, legal, or “safe and sane” fireworks, will legally be sold in the city beginning at noon on Saturday. The legal timeframe to discharge fireworks in Rocklin is between noon Saturday and 11:59 p.m. on July 4, Mikesell said. “If you are caught firing or using legal fireworks outside of the legal time frames, you will be cited,” he said. “Or if you are caught using illegal fireworks, you will be cited.” In past years, the Rocklin Fire and Police Departments have patrolled and confiscated illegal fireworks during the holiday season. In 2007, four citations were issued when citizens were caught using illegal fireworks or using "Safe and Sane fireworks" outside of the prescribed legal timeframes, Mikesell said. Illegal fireworks include bottle rockets, Roman candles and all other fireworks that leave the ground, he said. "It's always dangerous to light fireworks in the state of California," Mikesell said. "We have gotten to the point where things are very dry. Most people are aware of the balance between celebrating our freedom and the dangers of fireworks in dry conditions, so they show caution." Mikesell said conditions right now are more similar to what they are like in the fall and that people have to use common sense like staying away from dry fields. He suggests people use fireworks in concrete areas like a driveway or parking lot. "All in all, I wish that common sense were more common," Mikesell said. The Rocklin Fire Department held a special meeting this week with fireworks vendors and manufacturers explaining how fireworks use in Rocklin is entirely dependent on conditions. "If the resources in the city of Rocklin and throughout the state continue to get depleted, we may call off the fireworks including the private use of fireworks, the sale of safe and sane fireworks and the fireworks display the night of the Jubilee," Mikesell said. "As of right now I have not done that, but I am sworn to protect the public and if conditions warrant, I will do that." Mikesell said the department will take precautions by wetting down the area at Johnson Springview Park and staging three patrol units during the fireworks display Saturday night and he does not anticipate having to cancel the show. "My popularity comes second or third or fourth or fifth to public safety," he said. A fireworks citation is considered a misdemeanor and can carry a fine up to $1,500, Mikesell said.