CalFire stops early 20,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from entering California

Last week, CalFire’s Office of the State Fire Marshal seized a large moving truck filled with illegal fireworks attempting to enter California in Mono County after being spotted by an employee at the agricultural inspection station.

On March 9, 2023, CalFire-OSFM investigators, with the assistance of CalFire prevention officers and the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, arrested a subject for illegally transporting approximately 20,000 pounds of dangerous fireworks into California. The suspect, whose identity is being withheld pending further investigation, was arrested for felony violations.

“The use of illegal fireworks continuously poses a major threat that results in firefighters responding to hundreds of fires and medical emergencies every year,” said Acting State Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant. “It is important to know the law. California has zero tolerance for the sale and use of illegal fireworks.”

It is illegal to sell, transport or use fireworks that do not carry the “Safe and Sane” seal, as well as possess or use fireworks in a community where they are not permitted. To bring fireworks into California, a CalFire-OSFM importer license is required, and all fireworks imported into California must file a notice with CalFire-OSFM prior to importation. If convicted, a violator could be fined up to $50,000, as well as be sentenced to jail for up to one year. Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks. CalFire-OSFM requires the licensing of all pyrotechnic operators, fireworks manufacturers, importer-exporters, wholesalers, retailers, and public display companies.

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Dangerous fireworks are illegal in California because each year serious injuries and millions of dollars in property loss occur from wildfires sparked by fireworks. Check with your local jurisdiction for the use of safe and sane fireworks. Large grass crops and dry vegetation increase the threat for devastating fires throughout all of California. Remember fireworks start fires. If you have tips or information regarding subjects illegally transporting large amounts of fireworks into the State of California, please email arsonbomb@tire.ca.gov.

For more information on the CalFireOSFM Fireworks program, visit osfin.fire.ca.gov/divisions/fire-engineering-and-investigations/fireworks/.

View CalFire fireworks safety information at readyforwildfire.org/more/fireworks-safety/.