Celebrating Independence Day Safely During Coronavirus

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Most Fourth of July events around our County have been postponed, or cancelled altogether, due to continuously evolving COVID-19 conditions. The challenge is that firework displays are usually part of citywide celebrations in a park or stadium, which encourages public gatherings.

Like many things this year, a large gathering with strangers is simply not smart as the virus continues to infect people throughout the County. But this certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the birth of our nation!

This is the year to have a smaller, household celebration instead of traveling or having that traditional block party. Instead, like everything else since COVID hit, this is the year to get creative with family and friends on how to safely and enthusiastically showing you patriotism.

From lawn displays to a backyard campout, there are literally dozens of ways to celebrate. In fact, Country Living Magazine is sharing “18 4th of July Activities to Keep the Family Entertained” which can be found here; and “12 Patriotic Virtual 4th of July Party Ideas”, that can be found here.

But what about the fireworks?

This year will not see the traditional, city-sponsored firework celebrations. The cities of Chino, Fontana, Ontario, Redlands, Rialto, Yucca Valley and Yucaipa have cancelled or postponed their city-sponsored firework shows this year. Other cities are moving forward, but without the “public gathering” component of their celebrations.

Those cities moving forward with their firework display include Apple Valley, Big Bear Lake, Rancho Cucamonga, Twentynine Palms, and Victorville. We recommend following these cities on social media or visiting their website for any up-to-the-minute updates or cancellations.

“Safe and Sane” fireworks (the kind you can buy from the corner firework stands) are only allowed in the following cities: Adelanto, Chino, Colton, Needles and Rialto, as well as specific locations in Fontana, Grand Terrace, and San Bernardino. Contact your local fire department for more information about “safe and sane” fireworks and if they are permitted in your area.

All fireworks are illegal elsewhere in the County, including all unincorporated areas. And any fireworks that explode, shoot into the air or move along the ground are termed dangerous and are illegal anywhere in California.

Possession and use of illegal fireworks like firecrackers, skyrockets, and others will result in a ticket and potential injury. With San Bernardino County facing a dangerous wildland fire season, the San Bernardino County Fire Department has increased its vigilance in enforcing state and County firework laws to protect public health and safety.

Fire and law enforcement agencies will be conducting operations this year to stop illegal fireworks with fines up to $1,250 for the first offense with the possibility of arrest. Property owners may be cited if they allow fireworks to be possessed, stored or used on their property.

“Residents play an important role in our fireworks investigations. If you see something, say something. Call the authorities or WeTip hotline at 1-800-47-ARSON to anonymously report illegal fireworks,” said County Fire Marshal Mike Horton.

The Office of the Fire Marshal just launched an Illegal Fireworks Reporter website that allows people to report illegal fireworks online. To make an anonymous report, residents may visit https://bit.ly/SBCoReportFireworks. Be sure to include the date, time, and specific location of the alleged activity. Any photos and videos of incidents will aid in the investigation of alleged violations. Photos and videos may be included in the submission of each report.

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