Hoping to reduce the use of illegal fireworks on July 4, the City of Los Angeles held its second annual fireworks buy-back program on Saturday, offering gift cards to people who make fireworks fireworks at an event in Mission Hills.
“We understand that the 4th of July is a great time to enjoy and celebrate with families and friends, and we understand that historically fireworks are a big part of that. We understand that,’ Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Erik Scott said at a news conference in Mission Hills to announce the buyout program.
“But we all see another side that the general public doesn’t, and that’s the significant permanent injuries and the devastating wildfires.”
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez hosted the buyout event with police and firefighters from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brand Park, 15121 Brand Blvd. She said a similar event last year led to people turning in a quarter ton of fireworks ahead of the holidays.
“There were teachers who had confiscated these fireworks from their students, the parents – while the children were in school – went to bring these fireworks to us,” she said.
She noted that fireworks not only present a fire and safety hazard, but the noise from the devices can be traumatic for pets, the elderly and veterans.
Los Angeles police and fire personnel were on hand to accept the fireworks.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore reminded residents that possession and use of fireworks in the city is illegal, even if purchased outside of city limits.
“I’m going to ask Angelenos, don’t put the police department, don’t put these officers in the awkward position of having to ruin your vacation and your event because you decide to go out and buy $300 or $400 worth of lights fireworks and put on a display in front of your house,” he said.
Scott noted that the severe drought means the hillsides are wildfire-prone territory and fireworks can easily start a blaze.
“Our wildfire danger is still present and it is only exacerbated by the ongoing drought,” Scott said. “Our hillsides are very sensitive to sparks, so one less spark is one less forest fire. We want you to join our team to ensure that.
In exchange for the fireworks, Starbucks, Target and gas gift cards and tickets to a Dodgers game were given away. The gifts were determined by the weight of the fireworks that were dropped.