illegal fireworks

Authorities seized these illegal fireworks in Elk Grove last year.

The sounds of firecrackers and M-80 explosives are often heard across Elk Grove during the Fourth of July season.

Elk Grove police officers, Cosumnes firefighters, and Elk Grove city code enforcement staff will be patrolling for such illegal fireworks. Offenders face fines up to $500 per offense.

“We’re not giving any warnings; everyone will receive a citation,” said Shane Diller, the assistant director of development services for the city of Elk Grove.

Last year, local authorities seized more than 225 pounds of illegal fireworks in Elk Grove, he said.

Illegal fireworks are generally items that lack the seal of approval from the California State Fire Marshal’s Office. Legal or “safe and sane” fireworks carry that seal. Diller noted that authorities typically find commercially sold fireworks that were purchased outside California.

Common illegal fireworks are firecrackers, sky rockets, roman candles, bottle rockets, and aerial shells. Only licensed pyrotechnics professionals are allowed to fire aerial shells during a show.

Diller said there’s a particular concern over this spring’s late rainstorms that caused local grass to grow taller and thicker.

“This quick switch to hot weather will dry (the grass) out quickly and have more severe fire hazards,” he said.

Legal fireworks are being sold in Elk Grove, beginning June 28. Diller said that buyers should make sure that firework stands only sell to customers who are ages 18 and over. He added that it’s illegal to tamper with legal fireworks in order to make it explode.

Residents who suspect illegal fireworks activity in their neighborhood are advised to contact the Elk Grove police via their non-emergency telephone number at (916) 714-5115.