SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands are expected to be in Santa Cruz and the surrounding area for the Fourth of July holiday, and many Bay Area families headed in last weekend and stayed in local hotels to make the most out of the nice weather.
The Santa Cruz Police Department is on alert. Officers start their extra enforcement at midnight on the Fourth.
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They are tripling fines for illegal fireworks, public intoxication, and trespassing. That means a fine for setting off an illegal firework could cost you more than $1,000.
"Fireworks are so unpredictable that the sparks fly and you don't know where they will fly and could hit someone they were really close to hitting a family when I was there," Meghan Hardiman from Los Gatos said.
But, law enforcement knows how dangerous it can get.
"Folks who launch illegal fireworks you just think if something is to happen, firework tips over, it would go right into the crowd and then you got a lot of people and it's a bad situation," Sgt. Chris Clark with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department said.
Local beaches in the city and in the county are popular spots where people bring in illegal fireworks. Those will be heavily patrolled.
Law enforcement say fireworks pose a danger especially in an unregulated setting where there is a crowd, and other rules will be enforced as well.
"There's no alcohol allowed on the beaches. You can only imagine, you mix alcohol and fireworks what the potential hazard would be," Clark said.
Want to know what the weather will be like here for the Fourth of July? Click here for the latest AccuWeather forecast.
Thousands expected for Fourth of July in Santa Cruz
4TH OF JULY