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Mesa warns of fireworks danger this holiday season

Public safety crews in Mesa have been inspecting outdoor vendors selling fireworks in an effort to keep illegal fireworks out of their city.

“The illegal fireworks in Mesa are like the ones that are aerial fireworks and ones that have an extreme rapport, which is like a loud, loud bang,"  said Dale Kepler, fire inspector.

He said fireworks that shoot up in the air can land on dry brush, trees and roofs. Even legal consumer fireworks like sparklers, glow worms and party poppers pose dangers. Kepler said every season Mesa responds to about 20 fires caused by explosives tossed in the trash.

“Just take the extra steps to douse them with water or put them in a water bucket,” he said.

State law allows the use of certain fireworks between Dec. 26 and Jan. 4. Last year, the Mesa City Council created criminal penalties for selling and using illegal fireworks. Selling and using fireworks known as "novelties" are legal year round and include sparklers, party poppers, glow worms, snakes and toy smoke devices.

In Mesa, civil penalties include a minimum $500 fine:

  • Use of permissible fireworks outside of allowed days/times
  • Use of permissible fireworks on City property (excluding the right of way)
  • Failure to display required permissible consumer fireworks signage at the sale

In Mesa, Class 1 Misdemeanor penalties include a fine of no less than $1,000 and up to $2,500, and a court may impose up to 6 months in jail:

  • For use, possession, or sale of illegal fireworks
  • Permissible consumer fireworks sold to anyone under 16, that conflicts with state law, or on prohibited days
  • Use of permissible consumer fireworks during stage one or higher fire restriction near protected areas
  • Failure to obtain a permit for a supervised public display of fireworks
  • Failure to comply with permit and safety requirements of A.R.S. § 36-1603 (permit for public display)
  • Three civil violations within 36 months

  Legal consumer fireworks

  • Sparklers
  • Smoke devices
  • Novelties
  • Ground sparkling devices
  • Sparkling wheel devices
  • Ground based sparklers

Prohibited consumer fireworks

  • Sky rockets/bottle rockets
  • Firecrackers
  • Reloadable shell device/Roman candles
  • Aerials
  • Single tube device

Sky lanterns are illegal in Mesa

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.