Riverside County cities taking a hard line against illegal fireworks
By Craig Shultz
Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown minces no words when it comes to the personal use of fireworks.
“Our message is zero tolerance,” he said. “If we catch anybody with fireworks, they’ll be prosecuted, period.”
It is illegal to use any fireworks in Riverside County and municipalities are taking an especially hard line this year as a wet winter has brought a lot of extra foliage. Add in a forecasted heat wave — high temperatures aren’t expected to drop below 90 for the foreseeable future — and fire danger is high.
In an effort to combat illegal fireworks, some cities are setting up hotlines to report the illegal use of fireworks. Others are urging residents to call non-emergency lines.
In Riverside, residents should call 911 if the situation is dangerous or life-threatening. Otherwise, they can use the 311 line. It will minimize non-emergency firework-related calls to the city’s emergency communications center, public safety officials said.
Riverside has beefed up its laws banning the use of illegal fireworks, with violators facing fines of $1,000.
“Illegal fireworks greatly increase the risk of fire in our city, which in turn increases the danger for our firefighters who have to fight these blazes,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said in a news release. “For a lot of reasons, including the havoc we see in some of our neighborhoods, Riverside is strongly urging residents to stay away from illegal fireworks.”
In 2016, Riverside police got 916 emergency calls about fireworks, wrote 20 citations and confiscated 780 pounds of contraband.
Corona also has a phone number where residents can report illegal firework activities.
“Our extremely dry conditions create a greater potential for fires caused by fireworks, especially in or near the wildland-urban interface of the Cleveland National Forest and Santa Ana Riverbed areas,” the Corona Fire Department said in a news release.
The San Bernardino County city of […]