San Jose residents are encouraged to report uses of illegal fireworks in the coming weeks as residents celebrate New Year's Eve and Tet Lunar New Year.
According to city officials, emergency calls for firework use during the Fourth of July holiday outpaced San Jose law enforcement's capacity to respond.
"Firefighters responded to over 50 fires caused by illegal fireworks and were stretched to their limits in terms of providing adequate coverage to address emergency calls across the city," San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien Jr. said.
The San Jose City Council voted last week to increase fines for illegal firework use from $500 to $1,000 for a first offense. Second and third offenses are now $2,000 and $3,000, respectively, if committed within 18 months of the first offense.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo advised residents to avoid new year celebrations altogether as the coronavirus pandemic continues surging across the state.
"It's up to each of us to keep each other safe, and each of us can protect our own neighborhoods by reporting illegal firework activity online," Liccardo said.
Residents can report the use of illegal fireworks at any time of day by calling (408) 535-5600 or by visiting sanjoseca.gov/fireworks.
Residents reporting illegal fireworks are also advised to take and upload a photo or video of the person using fireworks, according to city officials.