California Firework Laws

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§981. General.
(a) No person shall engage in any type of fireworks activities without having submitted an
application for and having obtained a license from the State Fire Marshal in accordance with
the provisions of this chapter. Licenses shall be processed in accordance with Title 19,
California Code of Regulations, Section 3.33.
(1) Licensed Pyrotechnic Operators Basic Commercial, Restricted Commercial and
Rockets, First Class may employ unlicensed assistants.
Unlicensed assistants shall perform only when under the direct, immediate and constant
supervision of the licensee when handling fireworks and pyrotechnic compositions.
(2) Licensed special effects and theatrical pyrotechnicians may employ unlicensed
assistants. Unlicensed assistants shall perform only when under the direct, immediate
and constant supervision of the licensee when handling fireworks and pyrotechnic
(3) A license shall not be required for the use or discharge of safe and sane fireworks.

§986.6. Specifications for Safe and Sane Fireworks.
The provisions of this section shall apply to all handle goods, stick, dowel, spike and California
candle fireworks having a stick dowel or inside diameter greater than 1/8 inch and other
devices as noted.
Handle goods are exempt from compliance with the provisions of subsections (a), (d) and (e)
of this section if they incorporate all of the following features: (1) a soft, crushable type paper
tube, (2) an inside diameter of 3/8 inch or less, (3) 3 inches or less of combustible chemical
composition, and having an overall length not exceeding 12 inches without any choke or other
muzzle restriction.
(a) The chemical composition tubes or cases of all stick or handle fireworks items, whether
spike or dowel, except flares, shall not exceed 9 inches in length or have an inside diameter
greater than 5/8 inch and shall be convolute or spiral wound of chip board or other paper
having equivalent strength and shall be well glued. The above dimensions do not include the
stick, dowel or tubular handles of such items.
The chemical composition tubes in all fireworks items shall be sealed in a manner that
prevents leakage of the pyrotechnic composition during shipping, handling, or normal
operation and shall be constructed in a manner to allow functioning without burnout or blowout.
(b) The use of any choke or other muzzle restriction in any stick or handle fireworks item,
whether spike or dowel or California candle is prohibited.
(c) Compositions in all devices shall be designed and manufactured to prevent loosely
compacted charges. Pyrotechnic compositions shall not discharge a flame longer than 8
inches or throw sparks further than 10 feet from the composition tube muzzle. Handle goods
shall not throw sparks further than 6 feet from the composition tube muzzle.
(d) Clay base shall have a minimum finished thickness of 1/2 inch and shall be formed in place
inside the tube. In no case shall the final composition charge and the clay be formed in a
combined operation. All clay used as clay base shall be sufficiently moistened to insure
permanent effective adhesion to the inside of the tube or case.
(e) Fireworks devices which are intended to be hand-held and are so labeled shall incorporate
a handle at least 4 inches in length. Handles shall remain firmly attached during transportation,
handling and full operation of the device, or shall consist of an integral section of the device at
least 4 inches below the pyrotechnic chamber.
Spikes and dowels shall be inserted into the chemical composition tubes a minimum distance
not less than 25% of the length of tubes 6 inches or less in length and not less than 2 inches
into tubes over 6 inches long. They shall be cemented firmly in place against the clay base.
There shall be no void space within the chemical composition tube.
Spikes provided with fireworks devices shall protrude at least 2 inches from the base of the
device and shall have a blunt tip not less than 1/8 inch in diameter or 1/8 inch square.

(f) All fuses of every type and kind of fireworks items shall be securely fixed in contact with the
composition charge to insure against accidental loss. Each fuse shall be capable of either
supporting the combined weight of the fireworks item plus eight ounces dead weight, or double
the weight of the item without separation from the fireworks article.
Fuses on all items shall burn for not less than 3 seconds but not more than 6 seconds.
Fuses on all items shall be treated or coated in such a manner as to reduce the possibility of
side ignition. The fuse on devices such as “ground spinners” that require a restricted orifice for
proper thrust and contain less than 6 grams of pyrotechnic composition are exempt from this
Fireworks items sold or offered for sale at retail which are not enclosed in sealed packages,
shall have their fuses or other igniting means covered in a manner approved by the State Fire
Marshal to provide reasonable protection from unintentional ignition.
(g) All pyrotechnic devices having a base shall provide stable support to maintain the item in a
vertical position when firing. When bases are added to the device, they shall be firmly glued in
The base or bottom of fireworks devices having a base or fireworks devices that operate in a
standing upright position shall have the minimum horizontal dimensions or the diameter of the
base equal to at least one-third (1/3) of the height of the device including any base or cap
affixed thereto.
(h) The appearance of any fireworks items resembling those articles classified by statute as
“dangerous fireworks” shall constitute sufficient grounds for their classifications, by the State
Fire Marshal, as “dangerous fireworks.” Special reference is intended, though not by way of
limitation, to cherry bombs and sky rockets and other fireworks which normally explode or rise
in the air during discharge.
(i) Pinwheels shall be limited to a maximum overall diameter of 15 inches, shall be
substantially constructed and all driver gerbs, firepots and other elements shall be firmly fixed
to the wheel.
Drivers shall be securely attached to the device so that they will not come loose in
transportation, handling, and normal operation. Wheel devices intended to operate in a fixed
location shall be designed in such a manner that the axle remains attached to the device
during normal operation.
(j) Smoke devices shall conform to the following:
(1) Smoke devices shall be so constructed that they will neither burst nor produce
external flame (excluding the fuse and first fire upon ignition).
(2) Smoke devices shall not be of such color or configuration so as to be confused with
dangerous fireworks, such as firecrackers or cherry bombs.
(3) Smoke devices shall not incorporate plastic as an exterior material if the pyrotechnic
composition would come in direct contact with the plastic.

California Firework Info