New Illegal fireworks code gets tough on property owners in parts of Contra Costa County

New Illegal fireworks code gets tough on property owners in parts of Contra Costa County
This season Contra Costa firefighters have their hands full battling fires like this one near Pittsburg a couple weeks ago. (Drone photo courtesy CCCFPD Instagram).

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (June 8, 2021) – Facing an early wildfire season, the dangers of illegal fireworks can’t be overestimated.

To address this, Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors have passed an ordinance amendment that strengthens regulations of the possession, manufacture, sale, use, and discharge of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County.

The board emphasized public safety and wildfire prevention at its meeting June 8, 2021. At the meeting, they unanimously passed Ordinance No. 2021-19, amending the County’s fireworks ordinance, Chapter 44-2 of the County Ordinance Code.

“Illegal fireworks pose a danger to our communities and a drain on our system,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We simply don’t have the resources to address this continued problem. I would encourage the cities to follow suit and send the message that illegal fireworks will not be tolerated in Contra Costa County.”

Under the new ordinance, property owners and vessel owners bear responsibility for ensuring that illegal fireworks use does not occur on their property. Owners may be liable for ordinance violations if illegal fireworks are used on their property or vessel.

Citations for violations

The ordinance also authorizes the Sheriff’s Office to issue citations for violations.  A violation of the ordinance brings a fine of $100. A second violation results in a fine of $200 within one year. And a fine of $500 applies for each additional violation after that, within a year.

See full document Ordinance No. 2021-19 (PDF), amending Chapter 44-2 of the County Ordinance Code on Fireworks.

“Due to unseasonably dry fuel conditions in Contra Costa County, we urge the public to take every precaution to prevent wildfires. The use of illegal fireworks caused a recent fire in our county that destroyed two apartment buildings and displaced 30 residents,” said Fire Chief Lewis T. Broschard III, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “Playing with illegal fireworks is dangerous and poses the very real possibility of causing wildland fires that could easily destroy homes and threaten lives in this time of critically high fire risk. We urge everyone to follow the regulations and stay safe.”

Threat to our community

“Illegal fireworks in our county continually pose a threat to the safety of our communities,” said Fire Chief Brian Helmick, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. “On behalf of our District, we would like to thank Supervisor Burgis and the Board of Supervisors for taking these necessary actions to curb the use of illegal fireworks and for helping to protect all citizens who have been impacted by illegal fireworks.”

During the Board meeting, presentations from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, the National Weather Service, and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District highlighted the advance planning and coordination taking place. They also focused on the seasonal risks that residents need to know about and prepare for.

Learn about wildfire preparedness with the “Contra Costa County Residents Guide to Wildfire Prevention and Evacuation,” available in English and Spanish, on the County website.  Visit the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District website for the Wildfire Prevention Guide and safety tips and resources. Sign up for the Community Warning System to get emergency alerts at Take a step toward readiness and keep your family and neighbors safe.