California’s widespread drought begs the question: just when, where, and how can you set up fireworks this Fourth of July?

As for the when, it is okay to purchase “safe and sane” fireworks from a licensed retailer from 12PM on June 28th until 12PM July 6th each year, except where local ordinances are more restrictive. It is illegal to sell or give dangerous fireworks to anyone under 18.  It is also illegal to sell or give “safe and sane” fireworks to anyone under 16.

As for which fireworks are legal, California permits the following:

Bottle Rockets: With Permit Only
Sky Rockets: With Permit Only
Roman Candles: With Permit Only
Firecrackers: With Permit Only
Sparklers: Legally Allowed
Smoke and Punk: Legally Allowed
Fountains: Legally Allowed
Missiles: With Permit Only
Novelties: Legally Allowed
Crackle and Strobe: Legally Allowed
Parachutes: With Permit Only
Wheels & Spinners: Legally Allowed
Sky Flyers: With Permit Only
Display Shells: With Permit Only
Aerial Items (Cakes): With Permit Only

Fines for violations start at $240.00 per count, per person. Enforcement actions will range from misdemeanor citations to felony custodial.

But exactly where, in California’s expansive state, can you set off fireworks?


Cities are free to place further restrictions, and many have done so. Check out this list of 293 communities that permit state-approved firework celebrations.

[divider] [/divider]

Across the pond, Queen Elizabeth I was so fascinated with fireworks that she created an honorary title, “Fire Master of England” for the individual who created the best fireworks show. Based on the news coverage across the state, here are our guesses for which city would win the “Fire Master of California” for Fourth of July 2014:

USA Today remarks that San Diego, CA is the place to be this 4th. If you venture down to “America’s Finest City,” be sure to check out the two-hour parade hosted by the island of Coronado—which will include a family friendly concert and firework show over Glorietta Bay. Meanwhile, the “Big Bay Boom” fireworks extravaganza will take place over San Diego Bay and the LEGOLAND Resort in Carlsbad will be hosting its own Fourth of July celebration, starting at 8:30PM. And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there will be more fireworks over La Jolla Cove at 9PM.

San Diego isn’t the only city ringing in America’s independence: Pomona promises quite the show. If you prefer to celebrate America with monster trucks, buffets, fireworks, and motocross, “Kaboom!” will be hosting the 27th Annual 4th of July celebration at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The event touts having ‘one of the largest and most spectacular fireworks shows in California, so make room for the carved beef buffet, grab the kids, and judge for yourself.

Adventure seekers will love the July 4th Festival at Magic Mountain in Valencia. Test your inner dare devil on some of the biggest roller coasters in the state, take a break to enjoy the country music performance by Scotty McCreery, and finish of the night watching an amazing display of fireworks above the park.

Southern California is not the only place to get your fireworks fix—in fact, Northern California’s Fourth of July offers quite an array of ways to celebrate.

For instance, what could be more beautiful than enjoying the lit up sky aboard a beautiful ship in the place where we all left our hearts—San Francisco. The California Hornblower is pulling out all the stops to host an unforgettable 4th of July with a live DJ, champagne and cocktail bar, 4-course dinner, and beautiful fireworks show.

Visitors at Lake Tahoe are in for a treat—particularly because tourism officials have obtained Nevada-based sponsorship for their annual Fourth of July fireworks (ranked as the sixth biggest show in the U.S. by AOL Travel), allowing them to skirt regulations imposed by California. “I’ll just say that Nevada is a much friendlier place to shoot fireworks, and that’s why we’ve done that,” stated Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (LTVA) Executive Director Carol Chaplin in a meeting with the Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting in Minden on Thursday. The fireworks show is a huge draw to the lake, with over ten thousand people lining its shores for the boat-launched displays. Folks concerned about the fireworks’ effects on the natural environment of the Sierra’s can take solace in the fact that while the LTVA has relinquished control over the firework show itself, they have ramped up efforts to clean up debris.

No matter where you celebrate or what you do this Fourth, just remember that each year about 8,700 people will end up in the hospital, a large number of them children.  It’s a staggering statistic CAL FIRE says you can prevent by simply practicing safety first!