Fireworks are not permitted anywhere in the unincorporated areas of Placer County except when approved by the County and executed by a pyrotechnic vendor licensed by the California State Fire Marshal. Due to Placer County’s vulnerability to damaging wildfires, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance prohibiting fireworks of all types, including those intended for home use that are sold for at roadside stands in Placer County and throughout the region. Every year, Placer and other foothill counties experience a fire season from May to October marked by high temperatures, low humidity, and almost no rain. During this exceptionally dry period fire agencies battle damaging natural and human-caused wildfires, some resulting from illegal fireworks that put lives, property and the region’s beautiful natural environment at risk.
Permitted Exceptions - Public Fireworks Displays
There are, however, circumstances when public fireworks displays can be considered, typically to celebrate certain holidays, at visitor attractions and also for smaller public and private events, including birthdays and weddings. For these and other special events, the county has developed an online application and review process that requires individuals or organizations considering a fireworks display to hire a licensed pyrotechnic vendor and also take other steps as may be necessary to reduce potential fire hazards and other negative impacts to local Placer communities. Each application is reviewed by the Office of Emergency Services and ultimately approved by the Director of Risk Management, but usually also requires review and approval from external agencies, including local or regional fire officials, United States Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Placer County’s permit application was updated in 2020 to streamline and simplify the application and update insurance requirements consistent with current standards. The documents are now fillable forms, which allow for electronic submittal. Payment must be submitted via US Mail. The permit application also features a “Best Management Practices” plan requirement for all water-based public displays that take place on Lake Tahoe. The BMP plan outlines debris clean-up and reporting procedures consistent with modern standards and seeks to maintain Lake Tahoe’s pristine water clarity and environmentally-sensitive shoreline.