By Elizabeth Klinge

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento’s new illegal fireworks task force is now patrolling neighborhoods looking to seize dangerous items on city streets.

Already this year, Sacramento investigators have confiscated 1,500-pounds of prohibited contraband.

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“We had a busy bust operation,” said Jason Lee, Sacramento City Fire Marshal.

The so-called Social Host Ordinance targets property owners. It comes as public complaints about illegal fireworks grow each night.

“We’ve been increasing to about 100 calls, 150 calls,” Lee said.

And for the first time, officials have a new legal tool to crack down on those who use them.

“What’s different this year, we have the ability to issue a citation based upon just a visual verification that a firework has left the ground, and so we don’t actually have to physically arrest anyone,” Lee said. “All we have to do is document that and then we can actually mail them a citation.”

The new rules no longer require a police response.

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“Right now, we’re able to utilize different types of enforcement staff from the fire department and also city code enforcement,” Lee said.

Property owners end up getting the ticket, with fines going up to $5,000 for multiple violations.

Investigators say the best way to report illegal fireworks is to use a free app called Nail ’em – which allows people to send exact locations and even take a picture or record audio of the violation.

“That information comes directly to the Fire Marshal’s office. We’ll be able to dispatch folks out in real-time to those areas,” Lee said.

So what happens to all the confiscated fireworks after the Fourth of July?

“Those illegal fireworks would be gathered and transported to a secured holding facility and then we will work with the State Fire Marshal office to properly dispose of those”

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Also new in Sacramento this year: Use of all fireworks is banned between the hours of 11 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Elizabeth Klinge