BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Fourth of July weekend is finally here which means fireworks are on sale across the county. But if you’re looking to buy your own fireworks you might want to do it early.
If you look in the sky this Fourth of July weekend there may not be as many bright lights. That’s because due to the pandemic there’s a nationwide firework shortage.
“It's been very different, especially in the supply that we’ve been getting. There’s a little uncertainty about what we’re going to get,” said Courteney Mecomber who mans the TNT booth at St. John's Lutheran Church.
“I think the nationwide supply is about 60 to 75 percent depending on the region,” added Nicholas Conn who was at the TNT booth at Calvary Chapel Bakersfield.
And now some booths may not be able to get more fireworks if they sell out. Part of the problem is the ongoing labor shortage across the United States which is also slowing down firework deliveries. That’s why a lot of the booths are unsure if they will get more once they sell out.
“There is a shortage this year. Most of the products come from overseas so we have been told if we sold out, that we may or may not be able to re-up,” said Kevin Criss who was at the TNT booth being run by the Bakersfield Aces.
“TNT has been phenomenal in providing us with as much as they possibly can but there’s sometimes that we’re just not sure if we are going to get restock or reorders, so it's definitely been different,” continued Mecomber.
Another thing that’s been different this year due to the shortage: the prices.
“I have seen an increase in prices. I’d say prices go up a little bit every year, but this has been the year where there’s been the biggest price hike,” said Conn.
But if you’re looking to get fireworks Mecomber says it's best to buy now.
“We actually did our tally and we did better on our first day than we did last year and I think it’s because people are hearing of this shortage and they’re coming out and they’re buying early."
And every booth is to support a good cause.
“We’re not making any money off of this. It's all for our kids and for our people,” said Conn.
All the booths 23ABC visited on Friday are fundraisers looking to raise money for children whether that’s to play baseball or go on trips with their church.
And with that firework shortage, you may be wondering where you can buy some fireworks around town. You may also be asking which ones can I buy that are not illegal? Here are your options.
Fireworks officially went on sale Thursday. Stands around the county will be open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. leading up to the Fourth of July. Officials remind you that there are a few things sold in the county that are not allowed in the city, like Piccolo Petes and Ground Blooms.
How can you tell what's legal?
You should look for products that have a "Safe and Sane" seal on the package. This means the product was approved by the state fire marshall. As a reminder fireworks are not allowed in the mountain communities due to fire risks this time of year.
There are a lot of health and safety limitations put on fireworks. Not only that but lighting them during the wrong times and using unsafe types of fireworks can come with legal consequences. In California, you can face up to a $1,500 fine.
The Kern County Sheriff's Office wants to remind everyone not to call 9-1-1 for illegal fireworks as that ties up emergency lines. Instead, call the fireworks hotline at 868-6070. Kern County Fire Department has a 24-7 tip form available on their website. And in the city you can report fireworks by using the Bakersfield mobile app.
CAL FIRE issued some safety tips for people who plan to use fireworks this weekend.
- First, it wants you to know to always read safety instructions and directions on fireworks to avoid injuries.
- CAL FIRE also says make sure an adult is always monitoring children who are using fireworks. Be sure to remind kids that while fireworks are fun they are not toys.
- To avoid fires don't set off fireworks near dry grass and other plants.
- CAL FIRE also recommends having a hose or bucket of water nearby just in case.
Prepping for fireworks at home