CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- The birth of a wildfire can be triggered with the lighting of one simple safe and sane sparkler. Within ten seconds a spark took off on drought-parched hillsides at the Concord Pavilion on Friday with Contra Costa Fire Protection District personnel standing by. Within a minute, flames were roaring out of control.
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The so-called safe and sane fountain firework was purposely set off.
The fire marshal explained that hopefully, people won't set them fireworks off in dry brush, but sparks can fly. After 30 seconds or 60 seconds, the spark can become an out of control situation. Even a 911 call means a fire crew is still minutes away and a garden hose won't help.
Neighboring counties like Alameda sell safe and sane fireworks that are illegal in Contra Costa County. This year there are steep penalties and a new hotline to report neighbors who sell fireworks or set them off.
"Earlier this year we had a resident light one firework off his back patio and threw it and burned their building down and displaced 40 residents," said Fire Marshal Chris Bachman. "In addition, our fire investigation unit has been doing undercover operations and has made four different arrests for illegal selling of fireworks in the county."
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The big message for the public is go watch professionals set off fireworks at July 4 shows scheduled in Concord, Pittsburg or Antioch. Do not set off any fireworks of any kind on your patio or in your neighborhood.
The fire protection district plans to have 50 extra personnel and eight additional engines and apparatus standing by on July 4.
To report illegal fireworks Contra Costa County, residents can call the hotline at (833) 885-2021.
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