SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA – In time for the Fourth of July holiday, fire agencies from throughout Santa Clara County have partnered to remind residents that fireworks are illegal, dangerous and can result in fires and injuries that are easily preventable. Residents will incur fines for using, possessing, storing, or selling illegal fireworks. Santa Clara County’s ‘social host’ Fireworks Ordinance holds property owners responsible for illegal use of fireworks on their property.
This year, the danger of fireworks-caused fires is extreme. “Vegetation is drought-stressed, dry and primed to burn,” said Santa Clara County Acting Fire Chief Brian Glass. “It is absolutely critical that residents understand the extreme risk of fire at a time of the year when the weather is hot and vegetation is susceptible. We know that one spark can have disastrous consequences.”
A countywide public outreach and education campaign began June 21 to educate residents that when it comes to fireworks, “[It’s] Not Worth It” and can result in dangerous fires and serious injuries. Cities throughout the County will focus efforts on enforcement and residents are encouraged to report illegal fireworks use through the process determined by their home city or town.
“The Bay Area saw a dramatic increase in illegal fireworks activity during this time last year, resulting in over 30 preventable fireworks-related fires in San José alone,” said Robert Sapien Jr., San José Fire Department Fire Chief. “Deciding to use illegal fireworks is also deciding to put your neighbor’s lives and property at risk. Under current draught conditions, illegal fireworks put the entire community at risk. We’re asking for assistance keeping our community safe by urging residents to comply with fireworks bans and encouraging community members to report illegal fireworks activity using our online reporting tool to assist the City with taking enforcement actions.”
National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks start an average of 19,500 fires per year, 59% of which were reported as brush, grass or forest fires. These fires caused an average of five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and an average of $105 million in direct property damage.
This Fourth of July holiday also comes at a unique time when residents are enjoying a return to normal activities and social events. Residents are encouraged to continue to follow current Public Health orders and recommendations, find safe activities and leave fireworks to the professionals by visiting an authorized public display.
If there is an active fire or medical emergency, residents should call 9-1-1.