San Bernardino News Daily
May 5, 2021

It is no secret that San Bernardino has witnessed an extraordinary increase in fireworks activity leading up to 4th of July and well beyond the Independence Day celebration.

“Safe and sane” fireworks are legal in San Bernardino and nine other cities in the county. In San Bernardino fireworks can only be sold and used between July 1st and the 4th of July, and only in certain areas of the city (generally private property below the 210 Freeway.) Fireworks of any kind are prohibited in the unincorporated county pockets dotted around the city.

The possession, sale and use of all other fireworks are prohibited in the State of California, but that hasn’t seemed to stop them from exploding all over the Inland Empire over the past few years. If anything, the pandemic appears to have exacerbated the problem, not just over the Independence Day holiday but through Christmas, New Years and even last year’s high school graduation festivities.

It has been obvious that previously strict enforcement of city ordinances and state laws in San Bernardino and surrounding communities has fallen by the wayside, a victim of budget cuts, the loss of a city fire department, and/or just plain ambivalence.

In response to the fireworks induced havoc, the San Bernardino County Fire Department is set to unleash a new enforcement mechanism. According to an email from 2nd District County Supervisor Janice Rutherford, the department will engage “contact-free citations” to property owners where illegal fireworks are documented to have been ignited.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, the department will pinpoint where the fireworks activity is occurring. “Fire investigators will take photographs and collect other evidence before remotely issuing the property owner an administrative citation that carries a fine of up to $1,250,” according to Rutherford’s office.

Much like the long-removed red light camera program, a third-party vendor will mail the $1,250 citation to the property owner of record up to two weeks later, wherever they reside.

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