With Fourth of July festivities fast approaching, some Bay Area cities and counties are completely banning fireworks over safety concerns.
Contra Costa County is banning all fireworks, including safe and sane fireworks — those that do not leave the ground or explode. This ban includes the sale, possession and use of fireworks of all types and sizes, county officials said.
The bans include cities as well as rural areas of Contra Costa County.
This year, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District held its first ever no-questions-asked fireworks take-back program, aimed at reducing the number of illegal fireworks by having residents relinquish them on a voluntary basis. Twenty-five pounds of fireworks were collected this weekend.
The hope is to reduce the number of fires and injuries this Fourth of July.
“The worst one we’ve had burned up two different houses a couple years back,” one fire official said.
Misdemeanor offenders may face fines of up to $500, while possession of more dangerous types of fireworks such as M-80s or cherry bombs constitute a felony. Offenders arrested on felony charges may face prison time and fines of up to $5,000.
Other counties, such as Santa Clara County (where fireworks are banned in most cities), have suggested alternatives to illegal fireworks. Officials recommend safe-sanctioned fireworks shows and glow sticks rather than illegal fireworks.
Click here for a list of Fourth of July events around the Bay Area.