For Immediate Release No. 20190531-076
Friday, May 31, 2019

Fireworks Mitigation Task Force returns to keep Sacramento ‘safe and sane,’ this time with support from the air

It’s a problem that threatens the safety of our community each year.

In the weeks leading up to July 4, the City of Sacramento sees an increase in the use of illegal fireworks. At best, these fireworks can be a noisy nuisance to residents. At worst, they can lead to structure fires, wildfires, loss of fingers, hands and eyes and even death. 

To curb the use of illegal fireworks, the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force was created in 2018. In addition to limiting the sale/possession of illegal fireworks during a 5-week period leading up to July 4, the task force monitored high-profile firework events on the nights of July 2-4, including the one at Cal Expo.

The task force had a successful inaugural year. Their enforcement efforts included:

  • 2,333 pounds of illegal fireworks seized
  • 3 felony arrests
  • 13 misdemeanor arrests (cite and release)
  • 80 citizens advised
  • 2 “Amnesty Days”
  • 2 search warrants served
  • 3 undercover operations
  • 44 email complaint follow-ups
  • 7 firearms seized
  • 1.5 ounces of methamphetamines seized
  • 39 containers of butane hash oil seized

The Sacramento City Council played an instrumental part in creating the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force. Specifically, Councilmember Eric Guerra and Councilmember Rick Jennings worked to develop this team for the city. 

“The 4th of July is an important holiday for families and friends to come together and celebrate our country,” said Vice Mayor Guerra. “Illegal fireworks are dangerous, and have caused injuries and fires, and are not worth the risk. As we approach this 4th of July holiday season, it is important that we remember the safety of our neighborhoods and only use approved ‘safe and sane’ fireworks purchased from a licensed booth bearing the State Fire Marshal seal.”

“Celebrating on the 4th with ‘safe and sane’ fireworks is a wonderful tradition,” said Councilmember Jennings. “We need to make sure that members of our community don’t use illegal fireworks to celebrate. Illegal fireworks are extremely dangerous to not only the people shooting them off, but also to all members of our community because of their potential to start fires. Last summer we all saw the danger that fires represent. We need to do all we can to make sure that illegal fireworks don’t start fires in our neighborhoods.”

This year, the Fireworks Mitigation Task Force again will be working for a 5-week period, from June 1 to July 5. This team will consist of 14 Sacramento Police Department Officers/Supervisors and three Sacramento City Fire Investigators/Supervisors.

Like last year, the team will be working to make Sacramento safer by removing illegal fireworks from the community. New to this year, however, is the team’s ability to utilize personnel from air operations to assist with locating people using illegal fireworks.

In addition, the task force will conduct directed enforcement and provide education on the dangers of illegal fireworks.

Here are eight things that everyone should know about legal and illegal fireworks in Sacramento:

  1. Illegal fireworks do not have the seal of the State Fire Marshall imprinted upon them. Usually any firework that projects into the sky is illegal.
  2. Safe and sane fireworks can only be sold from fireworks stands that are properly licensed. In the City of Sacramento, these sales may only take place from noon on June 28 until 10 p.m. on July 4. The only legal fireworks in the State of California that can be sold and/or held in possession must have the seal of the State Fire Marshall imprinted upon them. All fireworks that do not have this seal will be confiscated and appropriate enforcement action will be taken.
  3. It is legal to possess, use, display or discharge Safe and Sane fireworks in the City of Sacramento from noon on June 28 to 12:01 a.m. on July 5.
  4. There will be a zero-tolerance policy for illegal fireworks and any citizen who is found to be in possession of illegal fireworks will be cited by contacting officers.
  5. To report the use of illegal fireworks in the City of Sacramento, please send an email to [email protected]. If you wish to report the use of illegal fireworks, please leave a detailed message with a description of the subject, address, and license plate info (if applicable). It is difficult to follow up on any complaint without directly contacting the reporting party. We ask that you please provide a good way to contact you so that we can follow up.
  6. Items that are commonly referred to as M-80’s, M-100’s, etc., are not fireworks; they are considered explosive devices. If you encounter one of these items, do not touch or move the device. Evacuate people away from the device and contact the police department immediately. This would be an appropriate time to call the emergency line, 9-1-1. However, if you are calling to report only the sounds of these items being used in the area, the call will be handled with an All-Units radio broadcast. It can be very difficult to narrow down the exact location that these sounds are coming from.
  7. Please keep in mind that first responders are inundated with calls of this type near the July 4, so the response time can be delayed.
  8. To help get illegal fireworks off the streets, the task force also will be having two Amnesty Days, allowing people to turn in illegal fireworks, no questions asked. You can also utilize this email listed above if you wish to turn in illegal fireworks, with no questions asked. The dates of the Amnesty Days will be announced soon.

The City of Sacramento wishes everyone a safe and fun time celebrating our nation’s independence!