San Jose braces for illegal fireworks on Fourth of July holiday

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose has a total ban on all types of fireworks, and for the third year in a row, it's enlisting residents to report illegal fireworks online. The concern is that underground sources are selling fireworks as powerful as the ones used at public displays.

No one will say exactly which neighborhoods or streets are being watched, but San Jose does have data pinpointing where residents have reported illegal fireworks being set off.

LIST: Bay Area Fourth of July Fireworks and Events 2018

The city has signs posted everywhere to snap, click, report. Take a photo, click to send it into the city, and report it. It can be done anonymously.

"You can fill out the form," said San Jose Fire Capt. Mitch Matlow, "everything except for your name and contact information, put your photographs in there, and if there's enough information without contacting you for us to take action, we will take action."

The city has shelled out $120,000 this year to help cover the San Jose Rotary's annual fireworks show at Discovery Park. Technicians are setting out the mortars for the 30-minute spectacular. What concerns the fire department is that some illegal fireworks are as large and as powerful as the ones used in professional shows. Four-inch shells have been confiscated.

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"There's enough propellant behind it to shove that shell out of the tube 400 feet into the air before it detonates for a four-inch shell," said Dan Moy, operator of San Jose's show, produced by Pyro Spectaculars. "I've seen these go through a half-inch piece of plywood that was sitting on top of it, punch a perfect hole, and just keep going."

At San Jose State's fire weather research lab, students have been monitoring tinder dry brush and grasses. Fireworks could touch off a wildfire.

"If you were to get a fireworks ignition in one of those grass fuels," said Prof.Craig Clements, "it could really take off, especially if there's a wind on it, so it's a critical time, and people really need to be aware of the surroundings."

The fine in San Jose for a first offense is $500. The second time, the fine goes to $750. The time, the fine is $1,000.

To report illegal fireworks, residents can go to or call 408-535-5600.

There are some professional firework display options for those in the South Bay including the following:

San Jose Giants 2018 Baseball Season
Where: 588 E. Alma Ave, San Jose CA 95112

Time - Post Game

Rotary Club of San José

Where: Discovery Meadow, 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA (West San Carlos, Almaden Blvd, 87 off ramp, Woz Way & Delmas Avenue)

Time - Show starts at approximately 9:30PM

Almaden Lake Park - Council District 10

Where: Winfield from Coleman to Quarry Rd

Time - Show starts at dusk

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