A task force of Elk Grove police officers, Cosumnes firefighters, and Elk Grove city code enforcement staff seized 188 pounds of illegal fireworks in the local region, the Elk Grove police announced on July 8.
Cosumnes Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin reported that fireworks caused 11 fires on July 3 and 4. He mentioned that an improperly disposed firework sparked a residential fire that caused an estimated $300,000 in damages. There were 29 firework-related fire incidents in the Elk Grove and Galt regions, which marked an increase of six cases from last year, according to a Cosumnes Fire report.
Overall, the local fireworks task force issued 22 citations for fireworks offenders, totaling $10,000 in $15,000 in fines.
Elk Grove police spokesperson Jason Jimenez said that authorities noticed an increase in illegal firework activity this year.
“We saw a variety of illegal fireworks like the ones that are used in professional fireworks shows,” he said.
Jimenez believed that the boost is linked to the cancellation in public fireworks displays across California.
“There are more people at home so that obviously allows for opportunities for use more fireworks, whether it’s legal or illegal,” he said.
This year, the Elk Grove police used technologies such as drone cameras and Nail ‘Em, a smartphone application that’s designed for citizens to alert authorities about illegal fireworks.
Jimenez said that the drone cameras helped pinpoint the locations of illegal fireworks activities, but he noted there were challenges. He said there were cases where such activities stopped by the time officers arrived at the scenes.
During this year’s Independence Day, the Elk Grove police received more than 200 complaints about fireworks.
“We’re trying to reduce this ever-growing problem,” Jimenez said. “This is something that agencies are seeing across California.”