Bushfires sparked by illegal fireworks highlight dangers

DMP is once again reminding people that it is illegal to possess and use fireworks in WA without a licence.
Date: Friday, 08 January 2016

As highlighted by the Department of Mines and Petroleum last month, it is illegal to possess and use fireworks in Western Australia without an appropriate fireworks licence.

Over the Christmas and New Year period the Department of Fire and Emergency Services reported that six fires were started by people setting off illegal fireworks.

This included two on New Year’s Day, one which came close to homes in Secret Harbour and another that threated homes near Albany.

These incidents have prompted DMP to issue another reminder ahead of Australia Day celebrations of the consequences people face if they illegally possess or use fireworks.

DMP Dangerous Goods Team Leader Erin James said the dangers of fireworks have been well publicised, but less well known are the substantial fines people can face for illegally possessing fireworks.

“In one case last year Western Australian Police charged an individual for illegally possessing and storing a single commercial firework,” Miss James said.

“They were subsequently fined $6000 by the courts. This reflects the seriousness of the offence and highlights the inherent danger of fireworks when they are not in the hands of professionals.

“The consequences can range from personal injury or death from mishandling fireworks to starting a bush or house fire after setting them off.

“Ultimately, you are not only putting your own life at risk, but potentially the lives of others as well.”

Since January 2012, 120 people and companies have been charged with fireworks offences in WA.