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Santa Maria cracks down on illegal fireworks for Fourth of July

Illegal fireworks like these will not have "Safe and Sane" state approved seals printed on them.
Illegal fireworks like these will not have "Safe and Sane" state approved seals printed on them.

The Santa Maria Fire Department will crack down on the use of illegal fireworks on the 4th of July. They plan to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle with GPS technology to pinpoint where people are setting off fireworks in the city.

Law enforcement will fine people $1,000 if they’re caught launching illegal fireworks.

The city said the crack down is in response to the hundreds of noise complaints they receive every year around this time.

Fire Marshall Jim Austin said fireworks are also a fire safety concern.

“We can send resources in that area and try and head off any potential fire [that] starts because of them coming down in fields that are grassy and things like that,” Austin said.

Austin said the unmanned aerial vehicle is one tool to help the fire department.

If fireworks are approved by the state as "safe and sane," they will come with a seal like this marking them as "safe and sane:
When a firework is approved by the state as "safe and sane," they have a seal like this printed on the outside of it.

“This aircraft has the capability to fly the whole city and they can identify assessor parcel numbers and addresses and then we can zero in on it, and then also we can record the activity,” Austin said.

Austin said the city attempted to use the same technology last year, but the aircraft never left the ground because it was too foggy.

Starting tomorrow, more than 25 stands will set up along Broadway Blvd in downtown Santa Maria to sell so-called “Safe and Sane” fireworks.

State officials approve some fireworks as “Safe and Sane.” They generally cause less injury, don’t explode or fly and are labeled with a state logo.

Austin said although more safe, he still encourages people to keep a hose or bucket of water nearby themselves when using safe and sane fireworks.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
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