California, Nevada Crews Scramble to Douse Blazes from Fireworks

July 6, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — Firefighters scrambled to douse grass and structure fires sparked by illegal Fourth of July fireworks in California’s Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The city of San Francisco saw at least 100 fires between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The fire department tweeted about roughly 15 blazes in a single hour, the newspaper said.

To the south in Santa Clara County, firefighters continued on Sunday to battle a 100-acre (40-hectare) vegetation fire that prompted evacuations near Morgan Hill.

Across the bay in Contra Costa County, firefighters responded to 50 fires between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. alone, according to a count by the Chronicle. Blazes were also reported in Marin and Alameda counties.

Firefighters treated people for minor injuries, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many were hurt.

Further south, crews in Fresno responded on Saturday to at least 70 fires triggered by fireworks, officials said.

Resources were spread so thin that the city’s fire department temporarily stopped responding to medical aid emergencies except cardiac arrest, the Fresno Bee reported.

By early Sunday, Fresno Fire was still working on 14 fires throughout the city and “our resources have been completely stretched to the max,” department spokesman Shane Brown said.

Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez told the newspaper it was “the worst fireworks night he’s ever seen.”

No injuries were reported in the Fresno area fires.

Fireworks are illegal in most areas. Many communities canceled traditional fireworks displays because of the coronavirus pandemic

In Nevada, Nye County officials threatened citations and arrests for illegal fireworks that led to some fires across metro Las Vegas.

The county Sheriff’s Office made an online plea Saturday night for people to stop using aerial fireworks.

Pahrump Valley firefighters had to respond to calls about fires at homes and desert brush areas.

Sheriff’s officials say deputies will be searching and citing or arresting anyone found launching aerial fireworks.

Reporting agencies showed fire calls for Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Clark County.

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