Fireworks going on sale, area shows to light sky July 4
BY JACK BARNWELL
Independence Day is just around the corner and with it comes the time-honored tradition of setting off fireworks in the night sky while saluting the Star Spangled Banner.
While California City will not be holding its public fireworks show in Central Park this year, residents can still set off their own pyrotechnics -- at least those on the California Fire Marshal's "Safe and Sane" fireworks list.
California City will not hold its event due to Gov. Gavin Newsom's March 17 order mandating all large-scale events not to be held in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Businesses and nonprofit groups have been setting up their stalls along the streets for a few days now, waiting for the deadline set by local and county officials to begin selling.
In California City, residents can start buying and safely discharging fireworks beginning at noon on June 28 through noon on July 5.
People who set off unapproved fireworks (including those purchased from an unapproved distributor or from out of state) found in possession of will be fined $1,500 per violation and arrested or cited.
Residents living in Mojave, Rosamond, Boron and other unincorporated areas are subject to Kern County guidelines.
For Rosamond residents and vendors, sale of fireworks in those areas begin June 28 at noon from noon to 11 p.m. in Rosamond, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 29.
For other unincorporated areas in East Kern, fireworks can be sold starting:
• July 1, noon to 11 p.m.
• July 2-3, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• July 4, 6 a.m. to 12:01 a.m. (one minute past midnight).
Setting off fireworks can commence July 1:
• July 1, noon to 12:01 a.m. (just past midnight)
• July 2-3, 9 a.m. to 12:01 a.m.
• July 4, 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
The Kern County Fire Department has a steep fine system for those who violate the rules or set off illegal fireworks. Violators can be fined $1,500 for the first offense, $2,000 for the second and $2,500 for all subsequent violations.
In addition, Kern County enforces a "social host liability" ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2015. According to Kern County Fire Department, the ordinance notes "that if illegal ﬁreworks are possessed, manufactured, discharged, stored or sold on his/her private or commercial property, the owner or tenant of that property is liable and will be cited."
People should take precautions when setting off fireworks, such as having a hose or bucket of water for expired ﬁreworks, lighting “Safe and Sane " ﬁreworks in areas clear of dry grass, bushes fences and buildings, and keeping children clear of the lighting area. The use of “Safe and Sane” ﬁreworks are permitted on private property only.
Both California City and Kern County are encouraging residents to report use of illegal fireworks. For Cal City residents, call California City Police Department dispatch at 760-373-8606. Kern County residents can report to the KCFD by calling 1-877-347-3847 or via an online tool at www.kerncountyfire.org.
Due to the current 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic affecting California and the rest of the nation, many fireworks shows and Fourth of July celebrations in California, including some in East Kern County, have been cancelled. California City will not be holding one this year.
In addition, the fireworks shows in Ridgecerst sponsored by the Ridgecrest Lions Club and the Lake Isabella show (sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce) were scrubbed for the year.
Some shows will go on, however. The City of Tehachapi fireworks show will still be held at 9 p.m. on July 4 with modifications. The 18-minute aerial display will be set off at the Tehachapi Municipal Airport. With the central location of the airport and the surrounding elevated viewpoints, this show can be enjoyed from a many areas around the Tehachapi Valley.
For those wanting to travel to Ridgecrest, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake will hold its own aerial show, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m on July 4. While access to the naval base remains restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the display can be watched by residents and spectators from around different areas and from parked cars.
The event is being held to celebrate Independence Day and to show "the resiliency of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and our local community from last year's major earthquakes and our current pandemic."
The China Lake show will be a fireworks show only, with those able to attend on base being restricted to their specific spaces to part of the social distancing requirements the Navy facility maintains.
"Though the show is being held on base, the fireworks display will be visible to the local community in a similar manner as shows held in previous years at the (Ridgecrest) fairgrounds," the China Lake news release states.