Redwood City hopes new rules will reduce illegal Fourth of July fireworks use

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Another Fourth of July holiday, another battle to stop illegal fireworks use in Redwood City.

Despite several attempts by the city to prevent illegal fireworks use and to convince residents to instead enjoy the annual fireworks celebration at the Port of Redwood City, the issue has continued to be a problem. Despite a city ban on fireworks in 2014, their use continued to be a problem. In 2017, the city increased fines up to $50,000 and expanded education outreach, which the city said resulted in reduced illegal fireworks use. And only a few months ago, the city adopted a Social Host Ordinance that holds accountable those who host or organizer gatherings responsible for illegal firework activity on a property in the city.

Will these efforts continue to reduce fireworks use during the holiday? It’s not yet clear, but a police bust last week might help.

On Thursday, June 20, three young men from the Peninsula were allegedly found in possession of more than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in a home in the 3500 block of Hoover Street in Redwood City, according to the Redwood City Police Department. The bust prompted a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad response to assist in safely collecting the fireworks for disposal, police said. The bust led to arrests on misdemeanor charges for the suspects.

Perhaps the greatest deterrent will not be a punishment, but rather a promise of a good time.

Every year, the city holds activities throughout the day for families to celebrate the Fourth of July that include a pancake breakfast, parade, 5K run, daylong festival, fun activities at Courthouse Square, a car show, a concert at the Port of Redwood City followed by a fireworks celebration at the Port.

Rather than setting off their own (illegal) fireworks show, the city encouraged residents to join the daylong community celebration.

To view a full schedule of activities, go here.