The greater threat, however, comes from illegal fireworks that can already be heard bursting above Tracy at night, according to Division Chief David Bramell.
Illegal or dangerous fireworks may explode, shoot a projectile or launch into the air. The most common are firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles.
“Because fireworks sales are legal in the city, people assume all fireworks are legal,” he said. “Only safe and sane fireworks bearing the seal of the California state fire marshal can be sold and discharged in the city limits.”
Windy conditions around Tracy compound the danger posed by such fireworks, with the potential to quickly whip a small grass fire out of control.
“We deal with the wind here,” Bramell said. “With aerial fireworks, your actions could result in someone else’s loss.”
Bramell recalled working a fire near Byron Road last July 4 that could be related to fireworks. While a crew tried to put out flames burning in the grass along a fence line that night, more illegal fireworks burst over their heads.
On July 3, 2012, an abandoned house on Corral Hollow Road was destroyed in a fire believed to have been sparked by fireworks, according to Bramell.
During last year’s city-sponsored fireworks display at Wayne Schneider Stadium, illegal aerial fireworks could be seen detonating in the air nearby.
Bramell said the fire and police departments are working together to try to stop the use of rockets and aerial fireworks, and he noted that many are bought in other states and brought to Tracy.
“When you look around, that level of fireworks — if they are carrying them across state lines, this is a violation of state law,” he said. “You may pay a significant fine. If we find it, we will confiscate it.”
The fire department will have extra crew members at stations on the Fourth of July, and in the evening, engine crews will be on the streets to respond to calls about illegal fireworks.
Bramell said any resident who sees fireworks that may threaten property should contact the Tracy Police Department or call 911.
Safe and sane fireworks, marked with the seal of the state fire marshal, can be bought from booths in Tracy run by local nonprofits.
They are legal only within Tracy city limits and can be used between noon and 10 p.m. Friday, June 28 to Wednesday, July 3, and from noon to midnight on the Fourth of July.
Bramell said city ordinances prohibit discharging any fireworks, including the safe and sane variety, in public or semi-public areas, such as city streets and sidewalks, or without permission in privately-owned commercial or industrial areas, parking lots, fields or empty lots.
He said fireworks must be set off at least 10 feet from any structure, with a water source within 100 feet, and cannot be discharged on or over the property of another person.
In unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County, including Banta and Mountain House, all fireworks are illegal.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fireworks safety tips
• Assign one person to light the fireworks who will not consume any alcohol, similar to a designated driver
• Keep a 6-foot area clear around each
firework as it is set off.
• Fireworks should be used outdoors only and never under any overhanging structure or plants.
• Do not hold lit fireworks.
• Keep fireworks on a flat surface on the ground so they can’t tip or fall over.
• Children should only use fireworks under adult supervision.
• Keep a fire extinguisher or a garden hose ready.
• Don’t horseplay with fireworks, and use them only as directed.
• Discard spent fireworks in a bucket of water, not in a trash can.
Source: Tracy Fire Department