Amid Historic Drought, Feuer Warns About Dangers of Fireworks

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LOS ANGELES —Amid historically dry conditions brought on by California’s severe drought, City Attorney Mike Feuer June 16, urged Angelenos to leave fireworks to the pros and reminded them that all fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles.

Leading up to the July 4th weekend, Feuer also detailed the numerous ways his Office is cracking down on illegal fireworks in Los Angeles.

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“The risk of devastating, quickly spreading fires sparked by fireworks is severe this year, not to mention the ever present threat of serious, life-altering injuries. That’s why we’re starting early this year, cracking down and urging Angelenos to leave fireworks to the pros,” said Feuer. “Besides everything else, fireworks are especially trauma-inducing for people we love, like kids with autism spectrum disorders and combat Veterans suffering from PTSD. And they terrify our pets, too.”

As part of Feuer’s multi-layered clampdown, his consumer protection unit has again issued cease and desist letters to popular social marketplaces – Meta (Facebook), OfferUp, craigslist and 5miles – demanding that they remove posts offering fireworks for sale in the City of Los Angeles, a violation of both municipal and state law. Anecdotally, investigators with Feuer’s Office note a marked decrease in the number of ads for fireworks since the office started taking these actions in 2020.

Meta has partnered with the City Attorney’s Office to help prevent the sale of fireworks on its platforms. Meta has been responsive to Feuer’s requests and has immediately taken down a number of violating posts both independently and upon being reported by Feuer’s Office. OfferUp, craigslist and 5miles have also indicated that they are complying and have removed the ads identified by Feuer’s Office.

In addition, the consumer protection unit has already criminally charged one person recently with three counts related to the alleged selling of fireworks on craigslist to an undercover officer. The defendant was placed on 12 months judicial diversion, ordered to forfeit all fireworks seized and perform 50 hours of community service.

Staff from Feuer’s neighborhood prosecutor program are also in the process of leading outreach efforts within their respective communities to emphasize that the private use of fireworks is illegal in the city. This year, they have sent over 4,400 letters to residents in problem locations – identified by LAPD by complaints and calls for service – reminding them of the law. Ahead of July 4th weekend, they will be conducting fireworks reduction roll call trainings on many LAPD watches and specialized units. Neighborhood Prosecutors’ staff is coordinating its public awareness efforts with Council Districts, LAPD, Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and MYSafe: LA, which is part of the Safe Community Project charity that supports LAFD with disaster training, awareness and public safety education.

For the second year, Feuer’s staff is also supporting the fireworks buyback program in the Valley, sponsored by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. Similar to gun buybacks, residents may turn in fireworks with no penalties in exchange for valuable gift cards. Last year, more than a quarter ton of fireworks were turned in. This year’s buyback is taking place July 2nd at Brand Park in Mission Hills. LAPD will also accept fireworks without penalty.

However, those who choose to ignore the law (and/or the buyback option), and who are found guilty of the misdemeanor crime of using, selling, possessing or discharging any fireworks within the City of Los Angeles could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $1000.

Feuer reminds Angelenos that, from a good citizen perspective, fireworks set off at unplanned hours can be harrowing for our neighbors with Post-traumatic stress disorder, including combat Veterans, first responders and survivors of gun violence. Fireworks can also be distressing for children with special needs, such as autism spectrum disorders or other sensory issues who may not be able to tolerate the noise. Additionally, fireworks can be terrifying to pets. According to Los Angeles Animal Services, the loud noises can cause dogs and cats to escape their homes and yards attempting to look for safety. More pets go missing around July 4th than any other time of the year.

Here is a list of local professional fireworks shows. And a video message about fireworks in English and Spanish.

Unless residents are facing an emergency, instead of calling 911, they can report fireworks at LAPD’s non-emergency number: 877-275 -5273.

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