Fireworks and California

Fireworks are lots of fun. They’re a great way to entertain your friends and neighbors during get togethers, but when you live in California there are some pretty strict rules about setting off fireworks in your backyard.

Types of Fireworks

California’s law makers have divided fireworks into two different types of categories. There are “safe and sane fireworks” and “dangerous fireworks.”

“Dangerous fireworks” are the ones that are typically set off by the cities, the large massive explosive ones such as rockets. Even sprinklers that are over 10 inches long are listed as dangerous.

Safe and sane fireworks are lots of fun, even if they are small. These fireworks include: spinners, small sprinklers, fountains, and snap caps.

It is always illegal for anyone who doesn’t have a display pyrotechnics license to set off any type of dangerous fireworks, however those without a license who are over the age of sixteen can buy and use safe fireworks.

Obtaining a display pyrotechnics license in California is quite complicated. Getting one involves:

  • Filling out an extensive application
  • 2 years of experience working with public fireworks display
  • 5 written letters of recommendation
  • Passing a pyrotechnics exam
  • Passing a background check

The Cost of Setting off Illegal Fireworks in California

Using dangerous or illegal fireworks in California is strictly frowned on in California. Simply being caught with illegal fireworks can result in you being sentenced to 12 months and/or paying a $1,000 fine. If you have a large quantity of the illegal and dangerous fireworks the charges are bumped up to a felony that can result in a $50,000 fine and 3 year prison sentence.

Selling to Minors

If a licensed fireworks dealer is caught selling illegal fireworks to a minor, the legal penalties are both swift and severe. The dealers aren’t allowed to sell any fireworks to anyone who is under sixteen years old and can’t sell any dangerous fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.