SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento City Council advanced an ordinance that would give local law enforcement more power to crack down on illegal fireworks.
They would do this by citing property owners or renters where the activity is happening.
Sacramento neighborhoods have complained about illegal fireworks for years but little could be done to punish those setting them off unless they were caught in the act by a law enforcement officer.
“There were these large parties that were happening during New Years’ and during Fourth of July, where folks were having these illegal fireworks going off,” said councilmember Eric Guerra representing District 6. “Around the Fruitridge and Stockton area, it was terrible last year.”
That changes with a proposed city ordinance that aims to crack down on illegal fireworks by imposing fines on property owners or renters where there’s illegal firework activity.
The penalties start at $1,000 and can go up to $5,000 for repeat offenses.
“Where we’re at here today is putting a lot of stake in everyone to be involved both neighbors, property owners, and community,” Guerra said.
And with this year’s wildfire season getting off to an early start, firefighters say the changes come at a needed time.
“We know that every year we have fires that are started by fireworks but we do expect that to be even worse this year because of the drying conditions,” said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Captain Chris Vestal.
Firefighters are encouraging the community to do their part to not fan the flames.
“We’re having increased activity already. We’re seeing fuel moistures and vegetative dryness that is more indicative of what we would see in early July so we recommend that people only use safe-and-sane fireworks,” Vestal said.
Many local non-profits depend on the money made at legal firework stands to fund their community-based organizations.
Sacramento city leaders will allow the safe-and-sane fireworks to light up during the day but as part of this new ordinance not overnight from 11 p.m to 9 a.m.
“This is a compromise that doesn’t hurt the fundraising efforts of a lot of very worthy organizations but it gives a tool in the tool kit to deal with this,” said Jeff Harris, Sacramento vice mayor.
All to spark more accountability and cut down on the dangers.
The ordinance passed the law and legislation committee and now heads to a final vote by the Sacramento City Council.
Leaders hope to have the changes in effect by June.