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Videos: Californians launch July 4 fireworks throughout state despite local bans

Southern California residents sit on the roofs of their vehicles to watch the fireworks during the Drive-Up 4th of July Spectacular at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base during the coronavirus pandemic on July 4, 2020 in Los Alamitos, California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times/TNS)
July 06, 2020

Fireworks displays were banned in many California cities ahead of Independence Day celebrations on July 4, but that didn’t stop many of the state’s residents from launching their own fireworks despite threats of fines.

On Saturday night, a drone flying over the city of Los Angeles captured footage of fireworks exploding over the city, with fiery blossoms visible for miles. Those displays, however, came despite the city’s municipal code banning fireworks displays.

The relevant part of the city code, Municipal Code section 57.5608. 1.2, states “It shall be unlawful for any person to use, give, possess, sell, or discharge any fireworks in the City of Los Angeles,” only providing exceptions for displays that were granted permits.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on June 29 that Independence Day fireworks displays were banned in Los Angeles, citing coronavirus concerns.

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“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is ordering L.A. County beaches closed from July 3 through July 6 at 5:00 a.m. to prevent dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly COVID-19,” the health department said. “For that same reason, the department is also prohibiting fireworks displays in the County this July 4th holiday weekend.”

During a Wednesday press conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also called on California cities to consider banning fireworks shows.

Despite the local cancellations and the municipal code banning private fireworks displays, as well as Newsom’s own discouragement of fireworks, Los Angeles County residents were defiant and proceeded with their Independence Day celebrations.

Fireworks could also be seen over the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday as residents similarly defied calls to ban fireworks displays.

KPIX 5 News reported Sunday that firefighters across the San Francisco Bay Area responded to at least 100 fire calls, of which dozens were linked to illegal fireworks displays.

The Los Angeles Times also reported the Los Angeles Fire Department, which serves the city of Los Angeles, responded to 1,738 calls for service on July 4, as compared to about 1,400 calls for service on an average day. The Los Angeles County Fire Department, which responds to Los Angeles County and other cities in the metropolitan area, responded to 1,676 calls for service, as compared to an average 1,100 to 1,200 calls in a day.