15 votes

Fires linked to fireworks erupt across SF, Bay Area

15 comments

  1. [4]
    Akir
    Link
    Fireworks are illegal where I live because it's dry and full of brush. But you can be sure that this night there has been so many fireworks going off I felt like I was in a war zone.

    Fireworks are illegal where I live because it's dry and full of brush. But you can be sure that this night there has been so many fireworks going off I felt like I was in a war zone.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      sqew
      Link Parent
      Same here. Live in an urban area, and local cities have banned fireworks for as long as I can remember. There's usually some every July 4th, but it's been nonstop booms all day this year.

      Same here. Live in an urban area, and local cities have banned fireworks for as long as I can remember. There's usually some every July 4th, but it's been nonstop booms all day this year.

      1 vote
      1. tunneljumper
        Link Parent
        Consider yourself lucky. Fireworks just became legal in my state less than five years ago, and people have taken that news to the extreme. I've had someone in my neighborhood lighting them off for...

        Consider yourself lucky. Fireworks just became legal in my state less than five years ago, and people have taken that news to the extreme. I've had someone in my neighborhood lighting them off for 3+ hours every night since the first week of June. Tonight they were explosive enough to rattle my windows.

        2 votes
    2. Hidegger
      Link Parent
      Anything that launches off is illegal to buy here. I'm in a rural setting in between 2 decent sized lakes. I want to say close to 100 places on the 2 lakes had their own private firework shows...

      Anything that launches off is illegal to buy here. I'm in a rural setting in between 2 decent sized lakes. I want to say close to 100 places on the 2 lakes had their own private firework shows last night and I wouldn't be surprised if I heard over 10,000 fireworks get launched off from 6pm to midnight, Including over 100+ from the neighbor right next to me and another 300+ from the resort goers across the street. And this is only a drop in the ocean when you look at how many other lakes around have this same thing going on.
      It's safe to say that unless there was a federal ban fireworks are going to be found and used regardless. You could start having police issue tickets with hefty fines and they'd actually rake in a bunch of money but that's also not the look the police depts want on Independence Day especially when the police are exactly the kind of people who would be launching fireworks on this day.

      1 vote
  2. skybrian
    Link
    Elsewhere in California: Fresno Fire responds to more than 200 calls from fires that were caused by fireworks [...]

    Elsewhere in California: Fresno Fire responds to more than 200 calls from fires that were caused by fireworks

    The Fresno Fire Department responded to more than 200 calls for fires triggered by fireworks on the Fourth of July, and air quality took a nose dive Saturday night.

    The pace of fire calls got so bad that the department temporarily stopped responding to medical aid emergencies except cardiac arrest.

    [...]

    “We had several reports of multiple structure fires of people trapped inside,” Brown said. “By the time our units were on the scene, the residents had escaped on their own.”

    1 vote
  3. skybrian
    Link
    From the article:

    From the article:

    San Francisco saw at least 100 fires between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday. At dusk, a blaze chewed through 4 acres at McLaren Park, and crews scrambled to fight another fire at 50 Cargo Way in Hunters Point. The fire department tweeted about roughly 15 blazes in a single hour.

    Across the bay in Contra Costa County firefighters responded to 50 fires between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. alone, a volume so extreme that by 10 p.m., they could only provide one engine for each response.

    “It’s unbelievable, they’re coming so fast,” said Steve Hill, spokesman for the Contra Costa Fire Protection District. Sitting in a command vehicle on Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, he heard fireworks explode outside as more fires flared up — by 11:00 p.m., another 18 had started.

    A major fire burned in Oak Hills Park in Pittsburg, at 10:41 p.m., threatening homes on nearby Clearwood Street.

  4. [9]
    unknown user
    Link
    Allowing individuals with no licenses or training to set off fireworks, in the summer, in a state renowned for large bush fires which kill tens or even hundreds of people seems like peak stupidity...

    Allowing individuals with no licenses or training to set off fireworks, in the summer, in a state renowned for large bush fires which kill tens or even hundreds of people seems like peak stupidity to me. The fact it's even legal is mind-blowing.

    Then again, it's become hard not to just expect this from the country that not only can't be bothered to lock down to help mitigate a public health crisis, but when that fails, can't even be assed to wear masks when out and about as a substitute.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      It's not allowed, it's illegal all over California. That doesn't stop people, and it's impossible to catch and punish everyone who sets some off.

      It's not allowed, it's illegal all over California. That doesn't stop people, and it's impossible to catch and punish everyone who sets some off.

      11 votes
      1. ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        It is if you employ state-wide drone-based facial recognition. Nothing wrong can go about that, can it?

        It is if you employ state-wide drone-based facial recognition. Nothing wrong can go about that, can it?

    2. [6]
      DrStone
      Link Parent
      The first sentence of the article says “illegal”. Personal fireworks are also extremely common around the world, regardless of legality. But don’t let that get in the way of an “America bad” rant.

      The first sentence of the article says “illegal”. Personal fireworks are also extremely common around the world, regardless of legality. But don’t let that get in the way of an “America bad” rant.

      5 votes
      1. [5]
        unknown user
        Link Parent
        Except, given the numerous ins and outs of regional, state, and federal law in the United States, the overall legality is somewhat grey. They're not illegal on a federal level, are they? Even...

        Except, given the numerous ins and outs of regional, state, and federal law in the United States, the overall legality is somewhat grey. They're not illegal on a federal level, are they? Even within the Bay Area, the legalities change:

        Even the so-called “safe and sane” fireworks can only be sold or used in 11 cities around the bay.

        What's even the point if you're going to have such a patch work of different legislative takes on the same fundamental issue? Compounded further if authorities can't, or won't, do anything about it, then the legislation preventing it is toothless and may as well be moot. If someone can simply drive 50 miles to somewhere where they are legal, what's the fucking point? It's a structural criticism of how the U.S. chooses to legislate issues.[1]

        Personal fireworks are also extremely common around the world, regardless of legality.

        And in other parts of the world, such as Australia, they're practically completely banned. Let's get real here—the U.S. and its obsession with fireworks (or replace with guns, or any other absurd national pasttime) makes "personal fireworks being extremely common" somewhat of an incredulous statement.

        [1]: And don't give me any BS that the country is "too big" to legislate issues like this at a national level—that's a compelling argument for why countries probably shouldn't be this large or geographically diverse, not a valid defence of maintaining status quo.

        3 votes
        1. DrStone
          Link Parent
          Ok, so we've at least walked back "The fact it's even legal is mind-blowing" to "legality is somewhat grey". A lot of that grey-ness for you seems, and I could be wrong, due to confusion over the...

          Ok, so we've at least walked back "The fact it's even legal is mind-blowing" to "legality is somewhat grey". A lot of that grey-ness for you seems, and I could be wrong, due to confusion over the governing structure of the US. Often there will be no legislation at the Federal level, leaving it up to the State to decide, though there is continual debate on where the line for powers between the two should be; state borders are not just for show and they're not entirely unlike separate countries in an extremely tight union. Generally Constitution > Federal > State > County > Local (city, etc.), where you start at the top and work your way down until there is an explicit ruling one way or the other on something. MonkeyPants has illustrated this with regards to fireworks and COVID handling. It is a big deal when a more local level explicitly legalizes something that is explicitly illegal at a higher level (e.g. marijuana).

          With that in mind, the only real grey area with fireworks comes in how a firework is categorized if the tightest restriction for a particular location has qualifications (e.g. what falls under "safe and sane" in CA where there are no more specific local regulations). The point is twofold: Firstly, whether you think large countries should exist, it's not not at least concede that what can and should be allowed in an urban environment is different than the suburbs is different than rural areas, so no matter what there will be issues with location-based legality within a country. Secondly, when a country is large, the needs and desires of people in the various regions will be aligned in some ways and different in others, so a flexible system allowing for both top-down rulings and increasingly local rulings is, in my opinion, essential.

          Enforcement is a separate issue. Trafficking of illegal goods is and has been an issue both locally and internationally. Land borders and free travel certainly make things more difficult, which I'd argue is completely worthy tradeoff.

          "U.S. and its obsession with fireworks". To be a bit flippant, Asia has entered the chat. The most spectacular fireworks show I've seen was when the Chao Phraya was (legally) lit up in the middle of Bangkok for New Years (both the official show and subsequent business-sponsored shows). Firecrackers and fireworks are huge for Chinese holidays, and the Chinese diaspora is strong and wide. Around CNY, even the fruit stalls openly sell illegal fireworks in Malaysia (well, there's a thin "these are totally not fireworks" sheet over them before you ask, but ask and they're spread out on the table for all to see). I've seen and heard plenty of "just because" fireworks in the region, more so than I've seen outside of the holidays or specific events in the US. Law enforcement generally turns a blind eye unless things get out of hand (or you're a small, dense island city-state like Singapore). Let's not pretend that, legality and value judgements ("absurd pasttime") aside, the US has some unique obsession with fireworks.

          3 votes
        2. [3]
          MonkeyPants
          Link Parent
          Firstly this is a valid comment. But you clearly are very confused with how things work in America. Which is understandable. But before you tear the fence down, you need to understand why it was...

          structural criticism of how the U.S. chooses to legislate issues

          Firstly this is a valid comment. But you clearly are very confused with how things work in America. Which is understandable. But before you tear the fence down, you need to understand why it was built in the first place.

          Secondly, you might want to assume a little humility. Not just because you are talking about things you have a limited understanding of. But because your country's success defeating COVID is as much luck as it is pure awesomeness.

          Fireworks
          Most fireworks are illegal in California State. All fireworks are illegal in most of the Bay Area.

          In the California state, only "safe and sane" fireworks are allowed e.g. sparklers. Skyrockets are illegal. In most counties of the bay area, even "safe and sane" is illegal. Due to the patchwork laws, it's a 10-60 minute drive to buy sparklers. But you are not against sparklers being legal in some bay area counties, because they are still legal everywhere in New Zealand, right?

          Outside of California, most fireworks are legal. E.g. Skyrockets. So it's a 5-6 hour drive from the bay area to nevada to buy skyrockets. This is illegal, but a lot of people still do this. OK, so this is a good example of why the multiple levels of governance is messy in a bad way. In regards to fireworks it's not as bad as you make it out to be. But it's still bad in relation to more important things like guns, racism, police brutality, increasing partisanship etc...

          COVID
          America's response to COVID has definitely been a mess. The president continues to put his head in the sand. Some states have had governors taking a strong stand and had wild success containing the spread, but unfortunately California is not one of those. The california governor has been incredibly slow to react. Luckily for the bay area, we had a county public health official lock everyone down. I didn't even know such a thing was possible. Just stop and think how amazing that is. While the president was in full denial mode, the CDC, FDA & NIH were screwing everything up, and the california governor was doing nothing, a hitherto unknown county level doctor locked the bay area down.

          This is where multiple levels of governance is messy in a good way. It's not just good for those of us lucky enough to live in the Bay Area. Right now Florida and Texas are looking at New York and Ohio, and they are very slowly and very painfully realizing their leaders are idiots.

          And it is luck. New Zealand is incredibly lucky to be COVID free. If New Zealand were not geographically remote, you would still be struggling like everyone else. If a cruise ship full of COVID infection had docked in New Zealand instead of Australia, New Zealand would be struggling like everyone else. If New Zealand had Bill English as the prime minister, I could make a very compelling argument that he would have been significantly slower to react to COVID due to concerns about the impact to economic growth. New Zealand is incredibly lucky to have Jacinda right now. Just stop and think how lucky. If Andrew Little hadn't surprised everyone by stepping down, you would not have Jacinda. If National had received only 3% more votes, New Zealand would not have Jacinda. If Jacinda hadn't surprised everyone by creating a minority coalition, New Zealand wouldn't have Jacinda. If Jacinda had not been born, or had not left the mormons or had not entered into politics...

          Summary
          So should California split off from the USA? I think you would be surprised at how popular this idea would be in both California and also in most of the USA. But it's unlikely to happen, because it would hurt economic growth and Europe and China are increasing their unions not splintering up.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            California was the first state to do a lockdown and it was only two days after the Bay Area counties. I actually read the order and I think it was badly drafted, but it's not like people were...

            California was the first state to do a lockdown and it was only two days after the Bay Area counties. I actually read the order and I think it was badly drafted, but it's not like people were paying all that much attention to the text of the order. Considering that few people are listening, I don't think the governor is doing all that badly.

            But we are seeing the limits of government in the U.S. You can get many businesses and other organizations to obey the law (though not always) so business closures do help, but it's quite hard to get many Americans to do much of anything if they don't feel like doing it. Even the people who sometimes talk about law and order can be very selective about this.

            On the liberal side this is true as well. People will sometimes obey the law and get all outraged at others about others who don't, except that if you have a sacred political cause then never mind, that's more important.

            Despite the elaborate and often cruel justice system, we are apparently just not that much into obeying laws we don't like. That includes California, and I include myself; I think I pay more attention to rules than most people, but I make exceptions too.

            2 votes
            1. MonkeyPants
              Link Parent
              You are 100% correct, of course. I think it's fair to say however, that the bay areas more strict closures has been more successful, and that likely help guide Newsom down the right path, so the...

              You are 100% correct, of course.

              I think it's fair to say however, that the bay areas more strict closures has been more successful, and that likely help guide Newsom down the right path, so the overall point about this being a good mess still stands.

              1 vote