By Mary O’KEEFE
The 4th of July weekend is filled with events in addition to Friday’s fireworks celebration at La Crescenta Elementary School and the July 6 Montrose Car Show. The Sunland-Tujunga Elks Lodge will be spending Independence Day helping veterans. Today, Thursday, the Elks will be continuing to prepare food for the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center in North Hills. On the 4th of July they will set up a barbecue VA family picnic for those at the center.
The weather on July 4 is expected to reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit according to the National Weather Service. Many will take advantage of the good weather to enjoy a picnic, attend a barbeque or go on a hike prior to the 4th of July fireworks.
Law enforcement and fire officials remind the public to “leave it to the pros and attend a professional fireworks show.”
Fireworks are illegal in the city of La Cañada, Glendale and unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, La Crescenta including the Angeles National Forest.
“The city of Glendale will have a zero tolerance approach when dealing with municipal code violations relating to fireworks,” stated in a city of Glendale release.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. – Crescenta Valley Station also reminds community members that fireworks are illegal.
“The penalties for using illegal fireworks could include fines of $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense,” according to an LASD release.
It is illegal to store, manufacture, sell, use or handle all forms of fireworks in the unincorporated area of L.A. County.
California is in a drought and vegetation throughout the state is dry. Everyone needs to be aware of the danger of fire as they take advantage of the parks and hiking trails including those throughout the Angeles National Forest.
“The possession of fireworks are prohibited, that is any possession; you can’t even have them in the trunk of your car if you are [in the ANF],” said Nathan Judy, spokesman for U.S. Forest Service.
Even those fireworks that are declared “safe and sane” (which generally means they do not fly or explode) are not allowed in the ANF, Judy said.
Anyone who is found to be in possession of fireworks in the ANF will be violating federal law and could face a fine of $5,000 or six months in jail.
The fire danger does not only pertain to fireworks but to any open flames and even extends to vehicles.
“Even parking in dry brush can [be a danger],” Judy said. “Two years ago on Labor Day someone parked their vehicle [on top of] dry grasses. The car was so hot it started the grass on fire, then the car caught on fire and 4,000 acres later was the [Williams fire].”
Officials remind community members and visitors to the ANF that if they “see something, say something.”