Illegal weekend fireworks lit up Southern California, sparking several hundred blazes

Illegal fireworks lit up the night sky across much of Southern California over Independence Day weekend, sending firefighters scrambling to deal with several hundred fires, according to reports.

Aerial footage from NBC News in LA showed bursts of illegal fireworks peppering the city and county after local officials canceled official July 4th displays over social-distancing concerns in the midst of a resurgence of the coronavirus.

“The fireworks were, unfortunately, a contributing factor to the busy night we had, and it was just intensely active with illegal fireworks,” Contra Costa Fire Capt. George Laing told the San Jose Mercury-News. “Fireworks are illegal. But it doesn’t seem to have concerned hundreds if not thousands who were lighting off all different types and causing fires around the Bay Area.”

Laing said firefighters responded to about 60 calls between 9 and 11 p.m. Saturday, with the bursts leaving a hazy mist over the area.

One fireworks-sparked blaze in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles ignited palm trees and spread into an apartment building, displacing 50 people, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Firefighters in the City of Angels responded to 29 structure fires, 12 brush fires, 17 grass fires, 65 tree fires, and 116 rubbish fires before 10 p.m. Saturday, according to KTLA-TV in LA.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” the LAFD said on Instagram. “Fireworks are not toys.”


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