Sutter County has adopted an ordinance allowing local prosecution and administrative fines for those who use, possess, store, sell, or display dangerous fireworks as defined by the state of California’s Health and Safety Code, Sections 12500-12728.
Those who violate the ordinance, and those who allow the use, possession, storage, sale or display of dangerous fireworks on their property, can now be cited by Sutter County authorities for a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 for each instance.
The following are some of the more common “Dangerous Fireworks” already outlawed by the Health and Safety Code, and their possession, use, storage, sale, or display could get you convicted of a misdemeanor: firecrackers; skyrockets and rockets, including any and all devices which employ any combustible or explosive material and which rise in the air during discharge; Roman candles, including all devices which discharge balls of fire into the air; chasers, including all devices which dart or travel about the surface of the ground during discharge; sparklers more than 10 inches in length or one-fourth of one inch in diameter; and all fireworks designed and intended by the manufacturer to create the element of surprise upon the user, including autofoolers, cigarette loads, exploding golf balls, and trick matches.
The ordinance does not prohibit the use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks bearing the seal of the California State Fire Marshal and purchased from June 28 through noon on July 6.
The Board of Supervisors adopted the ordinance as an emergency measure at its June 12 meeting, in advance of Fourth of July. The use or possession of dangerous or illegal fireworks poses a serious risk to the public health, safety and welfare, given the potential for personal bodily injury, property damage, the unknown material composition of the fireworks, and the lack of safeguards.
The ordinance addresses several complaints from residents about the large number of dangerous and illegal fireworks that are fired, particularly around the Fourth of July and the New Year’s. Animals are spooked by the constant explosions. Some military veterans have also complained the percussions are triggering symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In 2016, 11,100 trips to emergency rooms in the United States were the result of fireworks-related injuries, compared to 7,000 in 2008, according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The bulk of these injuries occurring during the month-long period around Independence Day—June 18 through July 18.
The ordinance, impacting unincorporated areas of the County, can be enforced by the Sheriff’s Department, Sutter County Fire Department, Sutter County Code Enforcement, and the Director of Development Services. The ordinance is similar to one adopted by the City of Yuba City and enforced within the city limits.
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The Sutter County General Services Department is actively pursuing security enhancements at three of the four boat ramps it operates.
General Services Director Megan Greve said the plan is to install security fencing, on-line or credit card payments, and a gate lock system to reduce vandalism and thefts at boat ramps at Boyd's Pump and the Yuba City Boat Dock on the Feather River, and at Tisdale Weir on the Sacramento River.
Improvements are expected to be in place this fall, Greve said.
In the interim, Greve said, boaters will not be required to pay the daily use fee. The County is removing the cash boxes used to collect boat ramp use fees because the boxes have been destroyed a multitude of times and money from the boat fees stolen. The enhancements will allow for the safe and secure collection of fees that are to be used to provide annual maintenance of the docks. Over the past two years, the revenue collected has been reduced by over $10,000 due to theft and vandalism.
"These security enhancements are what many boaters have been asking Sutter County to provide," Greve said. "We'll provide a more secure parking lot while boaters are out on the water."
No changes are planned at Live Oak Park boat ramp, where there is a park attendant on duty.