MESA, AZ — More than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks were seized from one local business in Mesa. The announcement happened just days before the fourth of July holiday.
Fire officials are now warning the community about how dangerous fireworks can be, especially this fire season. Their recommendation is pretty clear, they don’t want anyone using fireworks, whether legal or illegal.
“We want our citizens to be aware that when using fireworks of any kind to be extra careful. Make sure if you are setting them off make sure you’re away from everything, no brush, not next to any building or any brush that can catch on fire,” said David Ramirez, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Fire Department.
Ramirez understands fireworks are a tradition but says he strongly recommends leaving that to professionals and instead opt for watching them at a park or from home. He says fireworks can trigger wildfires. Other experts say wildfires put Arizona in a critical situation.
“I've never seen fire conditions in a state that I can remember, ever being like this,” said Jim Cross, a journalist who has been covering wildfires for decades.
According to official data, this year alone, our state has seen 1,013 wildfires so far.
Having 1,000 fires so early into the season puts Arizona on track to break a record.
“In Utah last year, 500 acres of wildland was burned from the use of fireworks. So, just be cognizant of where you're using, of what's around you, if it's dry brush, please don't use fireworks, we don't need any more fires in our state,” stated Ramirez.
The National Fire Prevention Association says 49% of the reported fires on the Fourth of July started by fireworks.
“They’re fun and there are plenty of legal options, but people need to really remember there’s still an element of danger,” said Andy Williams with the Phoenix Police Department.
Williams says they will be monitoring reports of illegal fireworks this holiday.
“In the heat of the moment on Fourth of July, if we're receiving calls about people potentially using illegal fireworks, that's going to be our patrol officers that are responding to those.”
But with so many people using fireworks that day, can the rules in place even be enforced?
“If we're receiving a large volume of those calls all at once, it can be challenging, but we will do our best to respond to those calls and answer the community,” said Williams.
Williams says using illegal fireworks is a class one misdemeanor, and you could end up paying a fine of up to $1,000 dollars.
But there’s also an important part to highlight, injuries.
“If you do have an injury, a burn or anything like that keep it clean don’t put any water on it just call 911. Just remember to be cognizant of how extremely hot those fireworks become and be safe,” said Ramirez.
If you do decide to buy fireworks, it’s important you make sure you’re celebrating with legal fireworks.
Click here, for the Phoenix Police's list of recommendations.