Fireworks lit up the skies of the Los Angeles area on Fourth of July, some of them illegal despite fire officials’ warnings of the dangers amid an extremely dry and wildfire-prone season.
Only certain areas in Los Angeles County are allowed to have “safe & sane” fireworks, although officials say they are still dangerous since they can burn up to 1,200 degrees. And in the city of L.A. and unincorporated areas of the county, all fireworks are prohibited, including what authorities call “safe and sane” ones.
“They’re explosives. They’re dangerous,” L.A. County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said this week.
Fire officials say they usually respond to cases where children burn their hands, face or clothes, leaving them with lifelong scars.
Last year in L.A. County there were 39 fires related to fireworks, an increase from the previous year where they only had three, Osby said.
“California public safety agencies have a zero tolerance for the transportation, sale and use of illegal fireworks,” said Chief Michael Richwine, a state fire marshal.
Since the beginning of the year, firefighters have responded to more than 4,000 wildfires that have charred over 32,000 acres in California, according to Richwine.
Wildfire areas cause concern during this time when fire officials say “the fields are bone dry.”
With the dry conditions “all it takes is a single firework or a single spark,” Richwine said.
Additional resources were staffed for the Los Angeles County Fire Department and other departments in the region ahead of the holiday, according to Osby.
With the Fourth of July holiday being one of their busiest days, fire officials will be out patrolling and collaborating with local law enforcement if they spot illegal fireworks in areas they shouldn’t be.
They asked citizens to report any illegal activity they see.
“It’s a collaboration between the public and public safety to make sure that our communities are safe,” Osby said.
Authorities have urged the public to attend only professional fireworks shows. For a list of July 4 fireworks displays across SoCal, click here.
Residents can also visit the L.A. County Fire Department website to find a fireworks show nearest to them at fire.lacounty.gov or they can call 888-654-FIRE.