South Bay officials crack down on illegal fireworks as fire concerns grow

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Despite fewer Fourth of July holiday gatherings last year during the pandemic,  the use of illegal fireworks exploded in many parts of the Bay Area.

With the 4th falling on a weekend, there are fears this year may be worse.

South Bay officials on Wednesday made their case for restraint amid stepped up enforcement. 

The entire South Bay is at risk but the east foothills, as seen from San Jose’s communications hill, are extremely dry. Fire officials came together Wednesday to sound the alarm.

CAL Fire says the number of fires responded to so far this year statewide is 53% higher than the five-year average. The combination of the drought, dry vegetation and the skyrocketing use of illegal fireworks in recent years and ahead of this year’s Fourth of July holiday is being described as a kind of perfect storm amid worries about what is shaping up to be the worst fire season ever.

Public service announcements and billboards urge people to report illegal fireworks with an on-line reporting app. An amended “social host”.

Ordinance allows for fines starting at a thousand dollars. Fire crews and law enforcement will patrol and be stationed in high risk areas and there will be zero tolerance for those who are caught with illegal fireworks.

As if the smoke from wildfires that plagued the region last year, making for seriously unhealthy air isn’t bad enough, smoke and toxics unleashed by illegal fireworks is also a health hazard, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

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