Fireworks on sale in Sonoma county, raising concerns for some residents, fire officials

- Fourth of July fireworks went on sale Thursday in Sebastopol. It is one of four cities in Sonoma county and 12 in the Bay Area that allows the sale of so-called safe and sane fireworks.

One 18-year-old drove down from Santa Rosa where fireworks are against the law.

"I’m going to set them off in an illegal area. We have fire extinguishers we purchased just in case," he said.

The Fourth of July is an anxious time for residents and fire chiefs, especially these days.

“This is probably the most nerve wracking seven days as fire chief and fire marshal. Twenty-four-seven I am thinking about fires," said Sebastopol Fire Chief Bill Braga.

Santa Rosa, still suffering from the divesting wildfires from October, will have teams of police and firefighters working on the fourth.

"We don't want Santa Rosa residents buying them in communities that sell them and then bringing them into our community. We want to keep Santa Rosa safe. Following what happened in October, the last thing we need is another wildfire," said Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rosa Fire Department spokesman. 

One Sebastopol resident says he will be setting off the fireworks he just brought in a parking lot in town away from anything that could catch fire.

"Legally, of course. It is way too hot and dry out. And with the fires from last year it isn't worth messing with," said Carter Olson.

The money from fireworks sold at these stands goes to charities and non-profits. Firefighters do say they are more concerned about M-80s and aerial fireworks.

“The issue is not the safe and sane. It is the illegal fireworks people purchase on the black market or legally in Nevada," said Braga.

Even so Braga says he is considering recommending to the city council that even the sale of safe and sane fireworks be discontinued after this year.    
 

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