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Fun For Some, But Consumer Fireworks Create Problems For Central, South Coast Public Safety Agencies

Fillmore is the only place in Ventura County where so called "safe and sane" fireworks can be sold, and used

It’s the time of year when we hear the sounds of fireworks around the Central and South Coast. It can be fun for the public and a big fundraising opportunity for non-profit groups in communities where so-called “safe and sane” fireworks are legal. But, it can also be a massive headache for public safety agencies, worried about the potential for people getting hurt, and starting brush fires.

The more than 20 fireworks booths in Fillmore are busy, with the final countdown on for the 4th of July. Fillmore is the only place in Ventura County where “safe and sane” fireworks are sold, and can be used.

Laura Smith is with the non-profit group “Fillmore Citizens Patrol” which uses its fireworks profits to support a number of community programs. She says many people coming to the booths don’t understand what’s legal, and what’s not, and they explain it.

The so-called “safe and sane” fireworks can only be purchased and used in nine communities on the Central and South Coasts. Fillmore is the only place in Ventura County. In Santa Barbara County, they can only be purchased, and used in Santa Maria and Guadalupe. Five San Luis Obispo County communities allow consumer fireworks.

Firefighters are trying to share the message that the safest thing is to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Fireworks of all types have been a huge problem in some communities in the region.

In Oxnard, they’ve mapped fireworks complaints over the years to allow police, and firefighters to know where to stage resources.

The message from public safety agencies is simple. Firefighters and law enforcement officers say at the least, they will confiscate illegal fireworks of all types. And, if they are things like firecrackers and skyrockets, they say you can expect a hefty fine, and possibly even arrest. They say with brush fire danger high, this is no time to be taking chances.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.