LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With nearly all public fireworks shows across Los Angeles County canceled this 4th of July because of the resurgence of COVID-19, officials are concerned that more residents will try and set off their own.
Fireworks are prohibited in all unincorporated areas of L.A. County, as well as in the city of L.A. and many of the county’s other 87 cities.
“I’ve seen burns to hands, arms, lost limbs, blindness,” L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby told reporters in a news conference Thursday.
Each year, 10,000 people nationwide are injured by fireworks. In a demonstration, L.A. County firefighters lit a sparkler and set fire with it to a shirt to show how something small can be dangerous if not handled properly.
Larger fireworks that explode in the air can also start brush fires and scare people and animals with the loud noises, Osby said. On Wednesday night, fireworks ignited a brush fire near a condominium complex in the Orange County city of Mission Viejo.
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis explained that fireworks have been a problem in her neighborhood in recent weeks.
“I want to encourage our community to think about our neighbors, and to think about who is impacted by some of these fireworks that are illegally used,” Solis said.
L.A. County has banned public fireworks shows this year due prevent large crowds from gathering. While the city of Santa Clarita canceled its show at the last minute to comply with the order, the city of Lancaster has not, its mayor Wednesday saying the show will go on at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Saturday.
“Who the hell are they to come up into Lancaster and tell us what to do,” Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris told CBSLA Wednesday.
It may feel like there is less freedom to celebrate this year, but firefighters want to remind everyone that the rules have been put in place for a reason.
“It’s done in relation to math, science and data,” Osby said. “And some of the best minds in the county and country to do things in a way to keep you safe as it pertains to COVID-19.”