Los Angeles officials collected nearly 700 pounds of fireworks as part of a buyback program Saturday at Brand Park in Mission Hills.
The event, hosted for the second year in a row by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, was held in response to community concerns about fires breaking out amid a severe drought and historically dry conditions. She said the buyback brought in about a third more illegal fireworks than last year’s event, during which officials collected 514 pounds.
“I truly appreciate the community members who voluntarily participated in this buyback effort to remove dangerous fireworks from our communities,” Rodriguez said in a statement, adding that the increase in recovery shows promise for a larger citywide effort.
“I look forward to expanding next year to return peace to neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.”
Drought conditions can cause fires to spread quickly, particularly in “high” fire severity zones like northeast San Fernando Valley, and fireworks only increase the threat, the councilwoman’s office said.
They can also be distressing for people with autism or other sensory issues, as well as those with post-traumatic stress disorder. Pets can also be affected by the bangs and flashes.
In all, 75 people stopped by the park Saturday to turn in illegal fireworks, including aerial mortars, sky rockets, M-80s and M-1000s, officials said. Depending on the weight of the fireworks they turned in, participants received Dodger tickets, gas cards or gift cards to Starbucks or Target.
The Los Angeles police and fire departments were on hand to accept the fireworks and make sure they were properly dealt with.
Last month, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer issued a warning to residents against using illegal fireworks leading up to the holiday, saying that his office would be cracking down. He said his office was issuing cease-and-desist letters to online platforms such as Facebook and Craigslist that are advertising firework sales in Los Angeles.
Fireworks are illegal in the city of Los Angeles, and selling, possessing, using or discharging them can bring a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to a year in jail, according to the city attorney’s office.
Last year, a South Los Angeles block was blown up in a failed fireworks detonation by the LAPD bomb squad.
In recent weeks, several cities in the area canceled their fireworks shows after state authorities raided the offices of the company hired to provide the pyrotechnics.
Still, scores of other sites across Los Angeles County are hosting their own fireworks displays.