State Fire Marshal Michael G. Matlick announced today that in 2008 there were 518 fires caused by fireworks over the Independence Day holiday.
Persons using fireworks must remember that there are legal consequences to damages caused by the irresponsible use of fireworks. Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered. A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. Possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80's, M-100's and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offence.
Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and susceptible to fire. A person found responsible for a wildland fire started by a firework device can be required to pay restitution for the fire suppression costs. Fire suppression costs of a wildland fire can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.