SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Many people partake in Independence Day celebrations by lighting off fireworks, but amid high fire danger, officials are urging everyone to be extra cautious and celebrate responsibly.
The only legal fireworks are "safe and sane" fireworks, according to Captain Parker Wilbourn, spokesperson for Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
"Anything that doesn't have a safe and sane logo on it — those are illegal fireworks and unfortunately, many times people still operate those illegal fireworks and that ends up causing house fires and fires in the vegetation," Wilbourn said.
Aside from being mindful of fire concerns, officials say knowing how to safely operate fireworks is just as important. A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows at least nine people died in accidents related to fireworks last year, and more than 11,000 people sustained injuries.
"When you are lighting off those fireworks, light one firework off at a time. Please don't be holding that firework. That firework should be on the ground at a safe distance away from anything combustible," Wilbourn said.
Once fireworks are lit, they should immediately be soaked in water for 24 hours before disposal because they can still catch on fire, according to Wilbourn.
Rodger Meier with the VFW Department of California said the loud explosions caused by fireworks can also affect veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"The loud noises, it starts to bring back memories of their time in combat and some of the things that have happened to them," Meier said. "Just know that the person next door to them who might be a veteran who served in a combat situation, just understand and have a little bit of empathy."
For residents who spot illegal fireworks and want to file a report, the City of Sacramento is urging people to download a free app called 'Nail Em' that is monitored by the Sacramento Fire Department.