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July 4 Fireworks: Watch Them, Don't Buy Them

Public safety officials remind residents that consumer fireworks are illegal in Contra Costa County.

Local authorities are gearing up for Independence Day celebrations by reminding residents of the dangers of consumer fireworks.

Setting off consumer fireworks can lead to fines and injuries, according to the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. Tri-Valley officials recommend the safer and legal option of watching public fireworks in San Ramon the evening of July 4.

"Our communities have the city of San Ramon's fireworks display in the evening and Danville's parade during the day," said San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Richard Price. "We have a wonderful option here in the valley with the fireworks in San Ramon and there is no reason to purchase consumer fireworks."

Police will be patrolling and responding to calls for illegal use and possession of fireworks throughout the weekend, as they do during the year.

Price said the San Ramon Valley has yet to see a major incident related to illegal fireworks usage because, "we believe we have strongly enforced our borders."

The local fire district teams up with the Danville Police Department to discourage personal fireworks use, which is illegal throughout Contra Costa County.

"If people really understood the risks to our community and to our youth they would turn to other options instead of buying consumer fireworks," Price said.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that there are more fires on a typical Independence Day than any other day of the year, and half of those fires are linked to fireworks. Fires are a significant threat to residents because the San Ramon Valley has dry brush and grass vegetation that can be easily set aflame, according to a Fire District statement.

Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies will confiscate all dangerous fireworks, according to sheriff's department spokesman, Jimmy Lee. 

Illegal fireworks include bottle rockets, three-inch mortar tube-launched shells, cherry bombs and M-80s, according to a department statement.

Offenders could face $500 in fines for the smaller fireworks, Lee said, while possession of more potent fireworks like M-80s or cherry bombs could lead to felony charges, fines of up to $5,000 and jail time.

To report the sale and use of illegal fireworks, contact the Fire District at 925-838-6600.

At a glance
San Ramon's "Red, White and Blue Picnic and Fireworks" is Sunday, July 4 in the city's Central Park at 12501 Alcosta Blvd. Families are welcomed to enjoy a picnic in the beautiful park setting beginning at 1 p.m., with the fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m. For more information, call the City of San Ramon Parks and Community Services Department at 925-973-3200.

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