June gloom has burned off and Independence Day is right around the corner, bringing to mind visions of melting ice cream cones and blossoming fireworks displays. 

But this year, agencies are once again warning against illegal and unlicensed fireworks, with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer doubling down on annual messaging about the danger of illegal fireworks. And with continued hot, dry and windy conditions across Los Angeles County, notably nearby in the Santa Monica Mountains, errant fireworks could spell disaster this Fourth of July.

On Monday, the National Weather Service Tweeted a warning about dangerous conditions: “Elevated Fire Danger is expected through the coming week due to hot conditions with low humidity. However, Tue night through Wed there is a chance of thunderstorms over LA & Ventura Counties, with a risk of dry lightning. Any new fire start will grow quickly!”

Last week, Feuer’s office held a press conference on the steps of LA City Hall announcing a crackdown against the sale of illegal fireworks in the City of LA. 

“This year especially, amid bone dry conditions caused by California’s treacherous drought, City Attorney Mike Feuer today urged Angelenos to leave fireworks to the pros and reminded them that all fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles,” according to Feuer’s office.

Non-permitted fireworks also remain illegal in Santa Monica, prohibited by Fire Code.

“All fireworks shall be illegal in the City of Santa Monica including California State Fire Marshal ‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks. No person shall possess, transport, sell or offer for sale, any such fireworks,” according to City of Santa Monica Fire Code 5601.1.3, and quoted in official City messaging from 2021. “Fireworks may not be used in Santa Monica EVEN IF they are legal in the city in which they are purchased. Possession of fireworks is considered a misdemeanor and may be punishable up to a $1,000.00 fine, and or 6 months in jail. Please remember that discharging firearms into the air is also illegal. It is a felony and punishable by a year in state prison.”

Information from the City also shared two staggering statistics: More than 19,500 reported fires are started by fireworks nationwide annually and burns account for 44 percent of the 9,100 injuries treated in emergency rooms seen in the month around July 4.

This year, there are no permitted professional fireworks shows scheduled in town, but nearby communities of Marina Del Rey and Pacific Palisades have shows scheduled for July 4. 

As of Tuesday, Santa Monica Police Department Public Information Officer Rudy Flores reported, there have so far been no reports of illegal fireworks this summer. But even an all-out ban on fireworks, combined with high fire danger, will likely not be enough to dissuade illegal shows. Given that, the Humane Society has shared resources for protecting pets, many of whom are terrified of fireworks.

Leave pets indoors, with radios or TVs turned up. Make sure  your pet has an updated and secure collar with an ID tag, in case they become frightened and escape. And if you know Fido and Felix are frightened by fireworks, speak to your vet and help make a plan prior to Independence Day Weekend. 

The Humane Society also provided an online resource for pets who are skittish around loud noises: www.humanesociety.org/resources/pets-fear-thunder-loud-noises.

emily@smdp.com