For more than a week, random bursts of fireworks and large booms not part of any planned or sanctioned fireworks show, and the confiscation of tons of illegal fireworks have kept fire and police departments in the Southland on high alert.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks called on residents to attend a professional fireworks show on the Fourth of July and avoid celebrating the day by using their own pyrotechnics that can lead to fires or injuries.
“We want to ensure that we have a safe program,” Parks said at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which will play host to its annual fireworks display. “But we also want to encourage people not to go outside the city limits and buy fireworks, bring them in and the next day we hear about the tragedies of lost limbs and eyes.”
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings warned that even seemingly harmless fireworks, such as sparklers, can cause serious injuries, burning at temperatures of as high as 4,000 degrees.
“Last year alone, your Los Angeles Fire Department responded to over 9 percent more calls for service on the Fourth of July,” Cummings said.
On Monday night, a fire that was sparked by someone playing with fireworks caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to a pair of businesses in Walnut Park, officials said.
They are also warning residents that backyard displays are illegal in many cities and parts of Los Angeles County.
To help you prepare for the 4th of July weekend, here are some helpful tips and laws to keep in mind before purchasing fireworks and setting them off in your backyard.
The private use of fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles and all of the county’s unincorporated areas, as well as 26 cities serviced by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Bell Gardens, Commerce, Montebello and Monterey Park permit the use of “safe and sane” fireworks, which have the State Fire Marshal’s seal, do not explode or leave the ground when ignited. Only fireworks sold at fixed places of business licensed to sell “safe and sane” fireworks are permitted.
Public safety officials, however, recommend attending a one of the numerous public, family-friendly daytime events and evening firework shows taking place around the county this holiday weekend. Go early and enjoy the pre-show entertainment, including live music performances, games, rides and food for sale.