Officials Urge Caution for Extreme Fire Danger from Fireworks

Officials Urge Caution for Extreme Fire Danger from Fireworks

Officials Urge Caution for Extreme Fire Danger from Fireworks
Morning-after photo shows extent of a June 17 fireworks-sparked blaze in Pittsburg that threatened some 100 homes and forced evacuation of 2,200 residents. (Photo courtesy CCCFPD)
Officials Urge Caution for Extreme Fire Danger from Fireworks
Four-alarm fireworks-sparked grassfire threatens dozens of homes in Pittsburg in early morning hours of June 17.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (June 22, 2022) — Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire), East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and law enforcement agencies across the county today warned residents about the extreme dangers of fireworks use in current critically high fire danger conditions and reminded of the county ordinance enacted last year, along with numerous city ordinances, that strengthen enforcement abilities, in a presentation in Concord today.

Fire and law enforcement leaders reminded residents and visitors that all fireworks, regardless of type or labeling, are illegal everywhere in the county. There are no “Safe & Sane” fireworks, regardless of labeling, they are all dangerous and uncontrollable. Additionally, the potential for serious injury posed by these illegal devices and the risk of causing catastrophic wildfires during this time of extremely high fire danger is great.

On June 21, 2022, Con Fire investigators announced fireworks were the cause of a four-alarm overnight grassfire that burned 120 acres, threatened some 100 homes with destruction, and forced the evacuation of 2,200 residents. As of today, the fire remains under investigation.

New firework ordinance

Last year, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors adopted a new fireworks ordinance (Chapter 44-2 of the County Ordinance Code) strengthening regulations regarding the possession, manufacture, sale, use, and discharge of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the County. Under the new ordinance, property and vessel owners are responsible for ensuring use of fireworks does not occur on their property and may be liable for ordinance violations if use does occur. Violations of the ordinance are subject to an initial fine of $100, $200 for a second violation within one year, and $500 for each additional violation within one year.

Similar city ordinances establish the illegality of fireworks in their communities and set violation fines.

“The only safe and sane approach to fireworks in Contra Costa County is to simply not use them,” said Fire Chief Lewis Broschard, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “As we saw just last week in Pittsburg, they are uncontrollable and dangerous, illegal, and their use – especially in our current drought conditions – is irresponsible posing the very real possibility of causing wildland fires that could easily destroy homes and threaten lives in this time of critically high fire risk.”

“The use of illegal fireworks is strictly prohibited in Contra Costa County and we as residents need to remain committed to preventing their use,” said Diana Becton, Contra Costa District Attorney. “… Those who engage in acts of unlawful burning that put our communities in danger will face legal jeopardy.”