A campaign to stop illegal use of fireworks got underway Monday in Hemet and will continue into the first week of July, with police officers taking a zero tolerance approach to residents igniting, or even possessing, pyrotechnics.
“All fireworks are illegal in the city of Hemet,” police spokesman Lt. Nate Miller said. “Protecting the safety of the public is a top priority.”
Like the majority of cities in Riverside County, Hemet does not permit private use of pyrotechnic devices on the Fourth of July, or any other time.
Miller said wildland blazes resulting from fireworks are always a major concern.
“Combined with the dry brush and other materials in our valley, fires can spread quickly to homes, threatening lives and property,” he said.
The county Board of Supervisors last month unanimously approved a series of amendments to the county’s anti-fireworks ordinance, No. 858, stiffening penalties for illegal possession and use of pyrotechnics in unincorporated communities.
Fines range from $1,000 to $5,000, and individuals who knowingly allow anyone to ignite fireworks on their property can be held liable for the costs of fire suppression if a blaze erupts, as well as face fines and, potentially, misdemeanor charges.
Miller said the Hemet City Council recently made similar changes to the municipal code, hiking fines.
“A tenant or homeowner can now be fined for fireworks violations, even if he or she did not physically light them,” the lieutenant said.
The city’s anti-fireworks campaign started Monday on social media and will continue over the ensuing weeks.
Miller asked anyone who is aware of fireworks use to report it via the city’s non-emergency line, 951-765-2400.