SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Illegal fireworks began lighting up the night sky weeks ago, but the weekends leading to Independence Day are always frantic for firefighters.
Sacramento Fire Department enforcement teams have already been observing illegal fireworks activity, taking note of addresses.
Fines of up to $1,000 could be issued. So far, they are at over $100,000 in fines and counting.
“They’re seeing what property they’re on and the property owner is getting that citation,” Sacramento Fire Department Captain Keith Wade said. “It’s the one way, a real-world impact financially we can do to try to get people to behave responsibly.”
Resident Michael Diego helped evacuate his neighbors last Fourth of July after an illegal bottle rocket was fired into their garage, landing on a box of legal fireworks.
“From there, the fireworks went off in the garage, the entire garage caught on fire,” Diego said. “And I assisted in making sure that all the kids were evacuated from the house, but it was horrible.”
It spread from there. A year later after repairs, the home still sits vacant. It affects how Diego celebrates the holiday now.
“I don’t want anything to happen to my house. So, I stay home with my children every year on Fourth of July and I also don’t go out anymore because of it,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to come down this weekend, but fire officials say to still be prepared as vegetation surrounding homes is still tinder dry.
Last year, many were busy through the following morning when some homes went up in flames after fireworks were not put in a bucket of water before being put in plastic trash cans.
The Sacramento Fire Department will have phones staffed starting Friday, so information on illegal fireworks can be passed on to field teams.
They are also using the Nail ‘em app to get tips from citizens on the location of illegal fireworks activity.