TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Tulare County Fire officials announced Wednesday they snagged approximately 500 pounds of illegal fireworks sold online ahead of 4th of July weekend following an undercover operation.
Undercover investigators from Tulare County Fire, the county District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office searched various websites like Offer Up, Let Go, Craigslist and Facebook for illegal fireworks, the fire department said. Many of the fireworks confiscated were aerial shells, bottle rockets and multi-shot type fireworks.
The operation also resulted in one arrest and two “notice to appear” citations.
The goal of the opeartion was to deter the sale, purchase and use of illegal fireworks in the county ahead of the Independence Day holiday, the department said. Fire officials reported seeing an increase in illegal firework activity over the last few weeks.
“We cannot stress how important it is to stay safe on the 4th of July, said Fire Chief Charlie Norman. “The use and sales of illegal fireworks with in Tulare County is a crime and those who possess these type of fireworks are being fined or cited. Combined with the dry grass and the high heat that the Valley experiences during this time of year, it only takes one spark to cause a fire.”
Officials stressed that “Safe and Sane” fireworks are the only legal fireworks allowed in Tulare County.
No fireworks are allowed in the Tulare County foothills and mountains under Cal Fire jurisdiction.
Fire officials will be teaming up with their law enforcement counterparts and will be patrolling on the 4th of July.
The fire department said there is zero-tolerance for illegal fireworks in the county and those caught using or selling any type of fireworks outside of approved dates can be cited and/or fined $1,000.