Officials Offer Fireworks Reminders

Officials with the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests are reminding visitors and campers this Fourth of July that the use and/or possession of all fireworks is prohibited on all national forests.

According to those officials, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on national forest lands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays.

Officials said that regulations are enforced and violation is punishable as a misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.

Meanwhile, officials also are reminding forest visitors are also reminded to ensure that all fires are extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving them, and to check local weather forecasts and the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests website for safety alerts.

Elsewhere, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is urging citizens to use extreme caution while using legalized fireworks this Fourth of July.

Hudgens said sparklers and similar non-explosive fireworks devices are legal in Georgia, but he says even those legal fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision.

According to Hudgens, around 8,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for fireworks-related injuries and most of those incidents involve children.

He added that in a typical year, two-thirds to three-fourths of all fireworks injuries occur during the four-week period surrounding Independence Day and on the Fourth of July itself, fireworks usually start more fires nationwide than all other causes combined.

Meanwhile, Hudgens reminded Georgia residents that the sale and use of most consumer types of fireworks, including firecrackers, skyrockets, and cherry bombs, is still illegal in Georgia and punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.