Bottle Rockets, Firecrackers Illegal; Palm Beach Sheriff's Office Warns It Will Enforce Law

As Fourth of July approaches, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is warning that lots of commonly-used fireworks are illegal to use without a permit -- and cops will be enforcing the law. Offenders can be fined up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

The list of fireworks cops will be on the lookout for includes: common bottle rockets, M-80s, M-80s with mortars, rolls of firecrackers, launchable rockets with stands, and projectile fireworks (Roman candles). So basically, all the cool ones. "If it launches or explodes, it is off limits," PBSO announced yesterday.

That leaves you to celebrate Independence Day with "legal sparklers" and "trick nosiemakers." And even with those, the Sheriff warns, "there is still a risk of injury. When lit, some sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees, which are at least 200 degrees hotter than standard butane lighter."

The Sheriff's office warns that you should not be fooled by Skeeter at the fireworks stand, who may try to assure you that if you sign a waiver, you're in the clear. "A 'waiver' will not clear you of responsibility should you be caught using illegal fireworks," says the big cop.

The fireworks stands are exploiting a loophole that allows them to sell fireworks. They ask you to sign a form saying you'll just set them off for legal use. Thing is, "legal use" is to put on a professional fireworks display, to make signals at railroad crossings, or for "frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries." So fireworks retailers can legally sell them to you, but most likely, you can't legally light 'em up.

Unless of course, flocks of birds *happen* to invade your backyard strawberry patch every year in the first week of July.

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