San Jose

Bay Area Firefighters Warn Residents of Using Illegal Fireworks Ahead of Fourth of July

NBC Universal, Inc.

It's just a little more than 24 hours until the Fourth of July weekend and fire crews across the Bay Area are reminding residents how dangerous fireworks can be.

Especially because of the bone dry conditions across the Bay Area.

From his home on Mount Hamilton overlooking San Jose, George, who didn't want to use his last name, doesn't mince words about the concern about fireworks this year.

“How have the last couple of weeks been?” NBC Bay Area's Sergio Quitana asked George.

"Bad. It's outta control," George said.

George told NBC Bay Area that every night, he can hear the small pops of firecrackers and the louder booms of larger fireworks. He is worried those illegal displays could set off a wildfire.

The only thing George and his neighbors can do is reduce the potential of fire on their own properties.

“I've had this pruned back. I've cleaned all that up. I've mowed this all down, I've got five acres. I've done all of that. I've mowed it three times,” he said.

Police and fire agencies across the Bay Area have been cracking down on people in possession of illegal fireworks.

A truckload of fireworks was confiscated in Alameda County by police agencies earlier this week.

In Santa Clara County, fire agencies launched a campaign to encourage residents not to light fireworks. They are dangerous and illegal in most of the county.

In San Jose, the local ban has even been beefed up with steeper fines and an expansion of who can be held responsible if consumer fireworks are lit at someone's home.

“If you are hosting a party where illegal fireworks are being used, you can be held liable for the fireworks fines,” said Erica Ray, a spokesperson with the San Jose Fire Department.

San Jose Fire Department spokesperson Erica Ray said people have already been reporting illegal fireworks on the department's website.

The biggest concern from local fire departments chiefs is how dry so much of the Bay Area is.

They're asking residents to forgo their fireworks at home and take in a professional one instead

"With COVID-19 pandemic ending. There are some legal and professional displays this 4th of July,” Ray said.

Along with increasing fines for illegal fireworks, the city has also allotted more money for San Jose police officers to be out on special fireworks enforcement patrols.

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