As we head into the most explosive holiday of the year, your local fire marshal has one message:
"Leave the fireworks to the professionals," said Bill Tyler of the .
Locally, that would mean the folks who shoot off fireworks each night of the through the Fourth of July.
Tyler said the message needs to be emphasized heading into the country's anniversary celebration, which prompts some parents in Marin County — where fireworks are illegal except if shot off my permit-holding pros — go up to Sonoma County or other counties to purchase fireworks and bring them back home.
"All summer long we're going to get fires here because of fireworks bought elsewhere," he said. "It's a tough battle because we all grew up with fireworks, and that was part of the fun. But kids get injured all the time, especially when they're trying to light them off when parents aren't around."
Children younger than 15 years old account for 40 percent of the estimated 8,600 fireworks-related injuries nationwide in 2010, according to stats from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and National Fire Protection Association. The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent), and head/face/ears (16 percent). Bottle rockets can fly into peoples' faces and cause eye injuries; sparklers can ignite clothing (sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees); and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.
It's not just personal injuries that prompt Tyler to reiterate his annual warning. It's the danger of fires that could engulf a home in minutes.
"We live in an environment where houses are intermingled with wildland. We have over 12,000 parcels like that in Novato. All it takes is one spark under certain conditions and you have a real problem that can turn into a tragedy."
In fact, and are stories from last summer involving fireworks-triggered fires in Novato.
Tyler's punchline: Resist the urge.
"We want people to find other ways to enjoy Independence Day," he said.
For a story about fireworks, click here.