Harsher penalties for Fresno residents who light illegal fireworks this year

Officials say, many times, innocent homeowners have to deal with the damage of other people's poor decisions.

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

Now, Fresno homeowners, tenants and party hosts can be held accountable for reckless 4th of July celebrations.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The fine for lighting off illegal fireworks has gone up this year in the city of Fresno.

Responsibility for illegal fireworks has also expanded.

Reports of illegal fireworks across the Valley have already started coming in over the weekend.

On Monday night, Fresno Fire investigators will be riding along with Fresno police, looking for people lighting off any firework that leaves the ground.

"We're hopeful that people heed the warning as far as illegal fireworks, but historically, in Fresno, 4th of July for us is very busy," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Devin McGuire.

Last year, on the 4th of July alone, crews responded to 125 fires.

That's why this year the Fresno City Council agreed to revise the city's ordinance on illegal fireworks.

Now homeowners, tenants and party hosts can be held accountable for reckless 4th of July celebrations.

"Let's say you're holding a gathering, somebody that's associated with the party that you're having, if they light off illegal fireworks and it can be traced back to your residence, even though you did not light it off, you can be held accountable," said McGuire.

Fines have also increased.

The initial fine is $2,000.

Additional fines within the same calendar year go up to $3,000 and then $5,000.

The change comes in light of worsening drought conditions and a record number of fires in the city last year.

Officials say, many times, innocent homeowners have to deal with the damage of other people's poor decisions.

Fresno Fire is hoping that with harsher penalties this 4th of July will be different.

"It's so frustrating to see people take other people's property for granted." McGuire said. "Hopefully this evening doesn't emulate what has happened in previous years."

You can report illegal fireworks in Fresno by calling Fresno Police Department's non-emergency line at 621-7000.