Several Northern California residents are surprised by illegal fireworks in the mail

(FOX40.COM) — Despite constant warnings about the heavy fines, dangers and other consequences of setting off illegal fireworks, law enforcement in Northern California had their hands full on July 4 as lawbreakers launched colorful explosive devices into the sky.


This year, some agencies went undercover to catch people violating fireworks regulations. The Sacramento Fire Department drove around in unmarked vehicles and issued warnings to people without their knowledge.

“We actually patrol the entire neighborhood and if we see fireworks going off a property, we take video and photos,” Sacramento City Fire Chief Jason Lee said on Independence Day. “We document it and send a notice to the property owner in the mail.”

FOX40's Zach Boetto accompanied the Sacramento Fire Department and said that within the first 30 minutes, five tickets were issued for illegal fireworks. In Sacramento, the first fine for violating fireworks laws is $1,000, the second is $2,500, and the third is $5,000.

Video footage showed the skies over Sacramento lit up in all directions with illegal fireworks that blared nonstop throughout the night.


Between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. Thursday, Fairfield police said they responded to 494 emergency calls. 151 of those calls involved fireworks.

“We usually receive this many calls in a single day,” FPD said on social media.

Hours earlier, the FPD had issued a public reminder that “fireworks are prohibited within city limits” and that officers and dispatchers would be working hard due to fireworks. However, several people apparently missed the memo.


Woodland police said they were “very busy” but “strongly staffed” to deal with the large number of illegal fireworks.

“You light it, we write it,” WPD said. “No, we won't catch them all, but we'll do our best all night.”

Just after dark, officers said they issued nearly 30 tickets for illegal fireworks, four of them over $10,000. This came just days after the WPD fined someone $120,000 for possession of illegal fireworks.

Sutter County

The Sutter County Sheriff's Office reported that 11 charges were filed for illegal fireworks and one offender was arrested for a homemade explosive device.

Besides Sacramento, other agencies did not disclose whether they use undercover agents.