As residents begin to plan their Fourth of July celebrations, the City of Santa Paula reminds the community that all fireworks, including those commonly referred to as “safe and sane,” are illegal within the City. Santa Paulans are invited to celebrate in other ways and review the City’s municipal code pertaining to fireworks.
“While the upcoming Independence Day holiday and the State opening back up from COVID-19 provides us with many reasons to celebrate in the coming weeks, I strongly encourage my fellow Santa Paulans to avoid the use of illegal fireworks,” said Santa Paula Mayor Carlos Juarez. “Fireworks can create unsafe and dangerous conditions for our entire community, and there are many other opportunities and ways to celebrate whether it be a family gathering or barbecue, outdoor activities such as biking or hiking, or attending the annual Rotary Club and City of Santa Paula fireworks display.”
The prohibition on unauthorized fireworks, including those deemed “safe and sane” in Santa Paula, helps to reduce wildfire risk as well as protects community members and animals who are sensitive to and could suffer trauma from loud noises. In fact, Ventura County Animal Services reports that the Fourth of July holiday is one of their busiest days each year due to illegal firework use. Alternatives to fireworks include glow sticks, bubbles and other similar party favors.
The Santa Paula City Council passed an enhanced fireworks ordinance within the City’s Municipal Code Chapter 103 last year to strengthen fireworks-related enforcement efforts throughout the City. This action created a new fireworks ordinance specific to the City of Santa Paula and broadens the scope of liability and penalties associated with fireworks activity. It is illegal to discharge fireworks, “safe and sane” fireworks, firecrackers or rockets within City limits. Anyone cited or arrested for fireworks violations may be faced with a fine, sentenced to jail for six months, or both.
“The Council’s willingness to pass this ordinance serves as a reminder to our community that illegal firework activity will not be tolerated in Santa Paula,” said Travis Walker, Santa Paula Chief of Police. “My staff and I appreciate being provided with an additional tool to better address the dangers fireworks can pose to the entire City, especially due the severe fire conditions that exist in our area. We are committed to doing our best to mitigate illegal firework usage this year and will have additional staffing and patrols on-hand around the holiday.” Chief Walker continued, adding that, to report a violation, residents can call a non-emergency line at 805-525-4474 and select extension 0 or 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to note that the ordinance also states that any “Host,” which includes property owners, tenants, landlords, property managers or any person who organizes, supervises, officiates, conducts, controls or is otherwise in charge of the activity on a property, can be held liable for any response costs associated with illegal fireworks activity taking place in and around the property. The ordinance allows members of the Ventura County Fire Department, Santa Paula Police Department and code enforcement personnel to cite Hosts without having to observe the illegal activity if sufficient evidence is provided.
Applicable administrative penalties for anyone, including Hosts, found in violation of the municipal code can range from $500 to $1,000. Should fireworks be confiscated, disposal fees may also be added to the previously cited administrative fee. Residents can review the full text of Municipal Code Chapter 103 online.
The Santa Paula Rotary Club is sponsoring the return of this year’s Fireworks Celebration, which has been a city tradition for many years. The fireworks display will take place at Harding Park and begin around 9 p.m. on July 4th; however, spectators are welcome to start entering the fields around 6 p.m.