SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The drought combined with the 4th of July holiday could be a recipe for disaster this fire season.
Now there’s a major effort from law enforcement to get illegal fireworks off the streets and a stern warning from firefighters before you decide to set them off.
The drought and the warmer weather have set in motion the annual fireworks displays across the Bay Area but this year, there’s a super-charged crack-down on pyrotechnics.
In the South Bay, violators could face some pretty hefty fines if they are caught.
Illegal fireworks were blamed for 34 vegetation fires last year in San Jose.
Spent fireworks typically litter the streets ahead of and after July 4th and firefighters are bracing for more of the same this year.
A new public service announcement encourages residents to report violators with an app based on a newly amended “Social Host” ordinance that will hold tenants or property owners accountable even if they didn’t actually ignite the fireworks.
Fines start at $1,000 this year and go up from there. Officials warn vegetation is “drought-stressed and primed to burn.”
In addition to 34 vegetation fires last year, fireworks are blamed for nine structure fires, three vehicle fires, eight trash fires and two injuries.
That fireworks debris, the reporting app and video surveillance have helped identify hot spots across the city that will be the object of patrols this year as well.