Riverside County public safety officials Wednesday reminded residents that lighting fireworks for the Fourth of July or any other occasion is illegal — except in a few Coachella Valley locations — and doing so could result in steep fines.

“We encourage all Riverside County residents and visitors to take advantage of the many festivities and public fireworks shows throughout the region, and please — avoid injury to yourself and others, as well as the risk of starting a fire,” county Fire Department Chief Shawn Newman said. “Leave fireworks to the professionals.”

County residents are prohibited from using any type of pyrotechnic devices except in Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio, where so-called “safe and sane” fireworks can be sold to the public.

The devices, which must meet state fire marshal certification, generally do not explode or fly and include ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps. Municipalities can authorize fireworks demonstrations, and the county grants permits for fireworks shows in unincorporated communities.

“The Riverside County Fire Department and law enforcement agencies … are enforcing zero tolerance for illegal fireworks,” according to the fire department. “Fireworks will be confiscated, (and) persons caught with illegal fireworks will be subject to arrest, citation and fines.”

Under county Ordinance 858, penalties for illegally storing, transporting or setting off fireworks can range from $500 to $1,000. A repeat offender can be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced up to one year in jail.

Officials said any person who triggers a brush fire because of the illegal use of fireworks will be held responsible for all suppression costs.

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