Stanislaus County: Zero Tolerance for Illegal Fireworks

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MODESTO  --

The Modesto Police and Fire departments are warning people who are caught with illegal fireworks that there will be zero tolerance.

Fireworks that fly, basically any firework that's not grounded is illegal in Stanislaus County, but they're easy to spot on sites like Craigslist.

“There’ll be a zero tolerance for illegal fireworks. Everybody that discharges illegal fireworks that aren’t safe and sane will be arrested,” Sgt. Kelly Rae with the Modesto Police Department said.

The Stanislaus County Safety Fireworks Task Force, along with fire and police officials, said they're aware many residents will try to light up the Fourth of July night sky.

But officials stress, the only legal ones are those that display the California Fire Marshal seal. Anyone caught with illegal mortars or "bob cats" will face a $1,000 fine and jail time.

“We have a task force that’ll come out, and we will send our unmarked cars into the neighborhood, and we will park down the street, and we’ll wait ’til someone launches one, and then we’ll go arrest them,” Rae said.

Authorities are expecting a busy Independence Day weekend, but stress that with bare bone staffing levels, that they will need the public's help in policing their neighborhoods.

“I prefer not to have to arrest anybody. But we’ll have multiple officers out there in marked and unmarked cars looking for people discharging any illegal fireworks up into the air,” Rae said.

Modesto's fire marshal explains that people can also turn in illegal fireworks at select fire stations.

“There’ll be no penalties for you turning them in, and we’ll just take them and no questions asked,” said Mike Payton, fire marshal with the Modesto Fire Department.

Under state law, anyone found carrying illegal fireworks can face fines of up to $50,000 and jail time.