FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been a busy Fourth of July for Fresno's firefighters.
At one point on Monday evening, the department was responding to 12 different incidents across the city, as the skies filled with illegal fireworks.
In one of those incidents, flames sparked by fireworks spread to three houses and several power poles in central Fresno.
The houses, in a residential neighborhood in the area of Thomas and Harris, were destroyed and a total loss for the families.
There was a 20% increase in Fresno Fire staffing because the 4th of July is one of the busiest nights of the year for the department.
Fresno Fire investigators rode along with Fresno police, educating people on the consequences of illegal fireworks - and also citing them.
"If we catch you with illegal fireworks, you'll be cited. If you start a fire, you're probably going to be arrested and cited for arson charges," said deputy fire marshal Jay Tracy.
Because of ongoing drought conditions, at-home fireworks shows pose a fire hazard.
"Weather and how dry things are - grasses and palm trees... it doesn't take much to start a fire. Anything that touches those things will catch fire," said Tracy.
The joint task force of Fresno police and Fresno Fire stopped several times at Independence Day celebrations throughout the city.
Police and fire investigators talked with offenders and confiscated the fireworks.