July 4th fireworks shows come amid high fire danger, supply chain issues

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

There's a renewed push by first responding agencies across the Bay Area for people to attend professional fireworks displays this July 4th.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There's a renewed push by first responding agencies across the Bay Area for people to attend professional fireworks displays this July 4.

That is, if the event hasn't been canceled. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) said the 2022 holiday comes at a time of inflation and supply chain issues that have forced the cancelation of a number of shows across the country -- though APA Executive Director Julie L. Heckman assures us the problem isn't widespread.

"The biggest challenges are for the professional display companies that put on the Independence Day celebrations for municipalities and cities," Heckman added.

She said 75% of professional display fireworks are made in and imported from China. Heckman said supply chain backlogs are making it difficult to get the product into the U.S.

However, she explained the country's "backyard consumer fireworks" market is booming and has grown over the last two years. It is growth that she attributed to the pandemic.

"No restaurants, no movie theaters, no sporting events, nothing they could do," Heckman described of early pandemic restrictions. "They went out and they bought consumer fireworks and they didn't stop."

This is concerning news for residents in Santa Clara County, where all fireworks are illegal.

Suzanne Morrone is an outspoken advocate in her attempt to stop illegal fireworks in San Jose. Among her reasons are the lasting impacts to her dogs and combat veteran husband.

VIDEO: 6 ways to help your pet animals during 4th of July firework shows

"We live in an old house, in an old neighborhood, and it's incredibly dangerous," Morrone shared. "The fear of fire is greater now than ever."

San Jose's Fire Chief reports nearly 90 fireworks-related fires over the last two July 4 holidays.

"Each of these fires caused property and environmental damage that was 100% preventable. If you see illegal fireworks being used in San José, help us hold violators accountable by reporting the activity online or by calling 311," Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr. said.

The city of San Jose also wrote to CA Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday, encouraging stricter penalties for those supplying illegal fireworks from Nevada, specifically.

A letter signed by Sarah Zárate, San Jose's Director of Office of Administration, Policy, and Intergovernmental Relations, read in part: "We urge you to be vigilant in your obligations as set forth in Section 12704 of the Health and Safety Code which requires the State Fire Marshall and Attorney General to: (i) meet annually to identify parties supplying illegal fireworks into California; and (ii) issue notice to such parties that California will be requesting federal authorities prosecute any violations of federal law related to the supplying of illegal fireworks into the state."

And despite San Jose's snap, click and report tool, residents want to see more being done to deter those determined to detonate.

Morrone said big booms still rock the community, but recently, she's noticed fewer aerial explosions.

"I've hoped it's because people couldn't afford it. I've hoped it's because of the supply chain. And I just continue to hope," she said. "But maybe they've got an arsenal and they're gonna do it all on the 4. I don't know."

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live