Valley officials: Be careful with fireworks on July 4 (video)

The Fresno BeeJuly 1, 2014 

In a matter of seconds, raging flames spread across the field. What started from the sparks of a firework quickly turned to a vegetation fire.

Luckily, this was only a demonstration put on by the Central Valley Fireworks Task Force to show the dangers of improperly using fireworks.

On Tuesday, the task force lit legal fireworks in a dry field on Shaw and McCall avenues in Clovis.

The Central Valley Fireworks Task Force is made up of the Fresno City Fire Department, the Clovis Fire Department and Cal Fire.

The dry brush immediately caught ablaze and with the help of the wind, the flames spread quckly.

"The wind will overtake a fire even if the vegetation is green," Cal Fire public information officer Ryan Michaels said. "Wind is quick and powerful."

Fire officials said they are expecting a busier year this Fourth of July because of the drought and the triple-digit temperatures.

Firefighters will be partnering with police officers in unmarked vehicles on July 4 in order to patrol against the lighting of illegal fireworks, said Clovis Fire Chief Mike Despain.

The task force is encouraging everyone to remember that all fireworks, whether illegal or legal, are dangerous if used improperly.

"Anything that the public can do to help us, we'd appreciate it," Fresno County Fire Chief Mark Johnson said.

In California, fireworks labeled with the state-approved "Safe and Sane" seal are permitted.

Illegal fireworks include sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that fly into the air and explode.

People with illegal fireworks or modify the Safe and Sane fireworks will be given $1,000 citations or can even be arrested for possesion of illegal fireworks, Michaels said.

The reporter can be reached at smartin@fresnobee.com or @SharonBMartin on Twitter.

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