ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — With the fourth of July just around the corner, many places across the Bay Area are experiencing a trend of nightly fireworks and local officials are saying it seems to be increasing every night.
In Alameda, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft spoke to KRON4 News and says the increase in recent fireworks can be possibly linked as a result of people sheltering-in-place due to COVID-19.
“I don’t know, I am speculating that maybe people just have more time on their hands with the COVID-19 and shelter-in-place, maybe its some frustration people feel from being cooped and having to wear masks,” said Ashcraft.
For local residents, in the last few days many have been woken up in the middle of the night to loud noises and in some cases as frequent as 10 nights in a row.
In some cases, local residents are saying that they are having a hard time recognizing if the loud noises are fireworks or something else.
“The earliest I heard them go off is 10 o’clock at night, I’ve heard them as late as like one or two o’clock in the morning and it sounds like fireworks, explosions, bombs, gunshots, breaking glass, it sounds like danger,” said local Alameda resident Gideon, who declined to give his last name.
“Its definitely more, there was a few pops and now it’s just like gaining momentum.”
As someone having grown up in the area, Mayor Ashcraft says this years rise in fireworks leading up to the fourth of July has been more than usual.
“You’d stop and think, are the A’s playing at home but then you realize the A’s aren’t playing anywhere right now, so yeah I would say theres an uptick” said Mayor Ashcraft.
“The thing is you want to be considerate of your fellow human being, its scaring dogs, its scaring small children, its not a good thing,”
Fireworks are illegal throughout the Bay Area and the danger of a potential fire caused by fireworks as the summer continues to heat up is an added concern for local officials and residents.
“This would not be a good time to have yet another crisis, our emergency response teams are all stretched kind of thin dealing with all affects of the pandemic,” said Mayor Ashcraft.
“I guess more so you can’t say firework without fire and we really don’t need more of that … it’s dangerous, it’s an open flame and accidents can happen,” said Gideon.
Instead, as the fourth of July approaches and with many parts of the Bay Area reopening — residents are encouraged to find a safer outlet to celebrate the holiday.
“I would ask people if you are one of those doing the fireworks find another outlet for your energies,” said Mayor Ashcraft.
“Get the little sparkler sticks, there are fireworks that sparkle in your hand, they’re the least dangerous firework ever and you can still see all the pretty colors,” said Gideon.
This years Fourth of July celebrations will be much different than years past due to COVID-19 to make sure people are social distancing to stop the spread of the virus.
In San Francisco, police want to remind the public that all fireworks including those branded as “Safe and Sane” are illegal in the city.
In other places across the Bay, Oakland’s city code of ordinance states if fireworks or other pyrotechnical devices are used illegally can result in a citation between $270 and $350.