The Riverside City Council voted unanimously Monday to reauthorize rewards for information that leads to the apprehension of individuals whose illegal use of fireworks inflicts injuries or destroys property.
The council convened a brief special session Monday morning at City Hall to re-establish the reward system, which received approval in a 7-0 vote.
“Illegal fireworks create an injury risk for residents and their guests, while also increasing the risk of fire and the potential danger for our firefighters,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “Riverside is strongly urging residents to stay away from illegal fireworks and have a safe Independence Day.”
Under the program, first implemented in June 2017, $1,000 is available to any person whose information proves critical aiding authorities in identifying and arresting an individual for causing injuries or property damage from pyrotechnics. Anyone caught and convicted of igniting them within city limits can face fines of up to $1,000.
According to the Riverside Fire Department, 129 citations were issued for fireworks violations during the week of July 4, 2017. Those tickets resulted in $65,000 in penalties, some of which are still being collected.
“Illegal fireworks usage in the city definitely dropped last year as a result of our citywide efforts, especially those of our police and fire departments,” Councilman Chris MacArthur said. “I’m hopeful we can continue that trend, and I encourage everyone to attend the (Fourth of July) shows.”
Fireworks displays are scheduled 9 p.m. Wednesday at the following locations in Riverside:
— Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, 14th and Pine streets;
— La Sierra Park, 5215 La Sierra Ave.; and
— Mount Rubidoux Park, 4706 Mt. Rubidoux Drive.
City officials are encouraging anyone who sees illegal fireworks activity to call the police department on its non-emergency line: (951) 354-2007. Anonymous tips can also be phoned into the city’s 311 call center.
In Riverside County, private parties are prohibited from using fireworks except in Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio, where so-called “safe and sane” fireworks, certified by the state fire marshal, can be sold to the public.
The devices are mostly pyrotechnics that don’t explode or fly, including sparklers, ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps. Municipalities can authorize fireworks demonstrations, and the county grants permits for shows in unincorporated communities.
Under county Ordinance 858, fines for illegally storing, transporting or setting off fireworks can range from $500 to $1,000.
According to county officials, any person who triggers a brush fire due to the illegal use of fireworks will be held responsible for all suppression costs.