It’s a problem that threatens the safety of our community each year.
In the weeks leading up to July 4, the City of Sacramento sees an increase in the use of illegal fireworks. At best, these fireworks can be a noisy nuisance to residents. At worst, they can lead to structure fires, wildfires, loss of fingers, hands and eyes and even death.
To curb the use of illegal fireworks, the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force was created in 2018. In addition to limiting the sale/possession of illegal fireworks during a 5-week period leading up to July 4, the task force monitored high-profile firework events on the nights of July 2-4, including the one at Cal Expo.
The task force had a successful inaugural year. Their enforcement efforts included:
- 2,333 pounds of illegal fireworks seized
- 3 felony arrests
- 13 misdemeanor arrests (cite and release)
- 80 citizens advised
- 2 “Amnesty Days”
- 2 search warrants served
- 3 undercover operations
- 44 email complaint follow-ups
- 7 firearms seized
- 1.5 ounces of methamphetamines seized
- 39 containers of butane hash oil seized
The Sacramento City Council played an instrumental part in creating the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force. Specifically, Councilmember Eric Guerra and Councilmember Rick Jennings worked to develop this team for the city.
“The 4th of July is an important holiday for families and friends to come together and celebrate our country,” said Vice Mayor Guerra. “Illegal fireworks are dangerous, and have caused injuries and fires, and are not worth the risk. As we approach this 4th of July holiday season, it is important that we remember the safety of our neighborhoods and only use approved ‘safe and sane’ fireworks purchased from a licensed booth bearing the State Fire Marshal seal.”
“Celebrating on the 4th with ‘safe and sane’ fireworks is a wonderful tradition,” said Councilmember Jennings. “We need to make sure that members of our community don’t use illegal fireworks to celebrate. Illegal fireworks are extremely dangerous to not only the people shooting them off, but also to all members of our community because of their potential to start fires. Last summer we all saw the danger that fires represent. We need to do all we can to make sure that illegal fireworks don’t start fires in our neighborhoods.”
This year, the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force again will be working for a 5-week period, from June 1 to July 5. This team will consist of 14 Sacramento Police Department Officers/Supervisors and three Sacramento City Fire Investigators/Supervisors.
Like last year, the team will be working to make Sacramento safer by removing illegal fireworks from the community. New to this year, however, is the team’s ability to utilize personnel from air operations to assist with locating people using illegal fireworks.
In addition, the task force will conduct directed enforcement and provide education on the dangers of illegal fireworks.