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Riverside Officials Worry About Illegal 4th of July Fireworks In Extremely Dry Conditions

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Officials in Riverside are raising the alarm about illegal 4th of July fireworks due to extremely dry conditions this year. Sparks from fireworks can land on trees, brush and other vegetation, sparking wildfires.

"We've had 40% less rainfall in the last year, we have a lot of light flashy fuels that will spread fire quickly and put our firefighters in danger and then put our residents and property in danger," said Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore.

Moore is urging people to attend a city-sponsored fireworks show. Last year, these were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of Riverside usually holds a 4th of July fireworks show on Mount Rubidoux but the City Council ended that tradition because of the elevated fire danger in that area. Instead, fireworks displays are planned for La Sierra Park and Ryan Bonaminio Park.

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Chief Moore says last year, there were 18 structure fires caused by illegal fireworks during the 4th of July holiday period, and 1,200 fireworks-related complaint calls — a 38% increase over 2019.