By Angela Greenwood

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As Independence Day inches closer, not only is the crackdown on illegal fireworks is heating up, but the weather is as well. That makes illegal fireworks all the more dangerous.

More than ever, local authorities are pushing to keep illegal fireworks off the streets.

It was a fight to stop the flames from spreading.

Sac Metro Fire Capt. Andrew Huckaby said, “The heights of the grass we’ve seen this year has not been this high people are saying in decades.”

A 15-acre grass fire on the outskirts of Elk Grove forced the evacuation of a nearby school. It was started by illegal fireworks.

“You kind of wonder what people are thinking,” said Huckaby, “like when did this sound like a good idea to have illegal fireworks in general, but to bring it out to a dry field near homes.”

Nearby residents say they hear the explosions day and night.

Elk Grove resident Dante Marquez said, “During this time of the season, it’s all over the place.”

As the mercury rises this weekend, illegal firework danger heats up.

“Any little bit that we can get off the streets is positive,” said Sacramento Police officer David Turner.

For the first time ever, the Sacramento Police Department held a firework take back.

“This amnesty program is just to allow people to turn them on without any questions asked,” said Turner.

Illegal and legal fireworks, both new and old were dropped off at the police department Friday, though police had hoped for a bigger pile.

“It would be nicer if more people contributed and brought more fireworks in.”

Sacramento Police also formed an illegal fireworks task force for the first time this year and the Sac Metro Fire Department is also teaming up with Sacramento County authorities to crack down as well.

“We’re prepared for this. We know exactly what the 4th of July holidays bring,” said Huckaby.

Illegal fireworks are dangerous always, but even more so during ripe fire conditions and this year, there’s no leniency for lighting them.

“It could change in a heartbeat and you could ruin someone’s life,” said Officer Turner.

If anyone wants to turn in any type of fireworks- illegal or legal- you can call the Sacramento Police Department to pick them up.


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