Don’t use fireworks, Contra Costa County fire officials warn ahead of 4th of July weekend

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — In Contra Costa County, there is no such thing as safe and sane fireworks — all fireworks are illegal.​

Still, the fire protection district says it crews are taxed from working fireworks-related fires this past month leading up to the 4th of July.​ The fire district expects that to be the busiest day of them all.

​A typical response time for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is around four minutes. And that’s about how long it would take for a sparkler lodged in your gutter to start a fire and spread from the roof to your attic.​

“If you have or possess fireworks don’t use them,” Fire chief Lewis Broschard said. “Leave them in the box.”​

In Concord, the fire protection district demonstrated the dangers of fireworks considered safe and sane in other counties.​

Fire chief Lewis Broschard says he’s up-staffing for Independence Day, with hand crews and bulldozer teams on standby specifically for fireworks-related calls.​

“We’ve been very busy since may with an almost four-fold increase in vegetation and grass fire responses, dozens of those, particularly in the last two to three weeks, have been caused by fireworks use,” Broschard said.

Police chiefs from Lafayette and Concord among the law enforcement agencies stressing to the public Wednesday that fireworks of all kinds are illegal in every city and unincorporated area in Contra Costa County.

And yet, on a nightly basis — the use of illegal fireworks has been reported. ​

“I absolutely think COVID-19 plays a role in it. People are stir crazy, for lack of a better word,” Police chief Mark Bustillos said. “We’re seeing lots of calls that are a little unusual in Concord. COVID-19. People have been cooped up, and as the COVID-19 is lifted bit by bit, step by step, you’re seeing kind of behavior pushing the envelope.”​

If caught with fireworks, you could be facing a misdemeanor up to a $1,000 fine and possibly jail time.​

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