City of Los Angeles lawyer Mike Feuer announced on Thursday that he would send injunctions to popular online and mobile fireworks stores and launch a public awareness campaign about the damage that fireworks can do to curb illegal use.
The announcement comes just over a week before July 4, and as people across Southern California and across the country have reported an increase in illegal fireworks.
The Los Angeles Police Department recorded two and a half times the number of radio calls with illegal fireworks this year, sources told KTLA earlier this week.
"Almost every corner of LA is facing a huge increase in illegal fireworks when so many of us are already nervous about the virus," Feuer said in a statement.
Feuer said lighting illegal fireworks was both dangerous and annoying.
"Between the very real risk of injury and the unacceptable impact on veterans with PTSD, children with special needs, and our pets, the nightly rush of illegal fireworks that we're experiencing must stop."
Animal lawyers have also spoken out against the displays.
"Loud noises like fireworks are not fun for animals," said Brenda Barnette, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services. "A scared dog or cat can quickly slip through an open door or a tiny crack in the fence and get lost."
She added that fireworks can cause burns or be fatal if swallowed.
Officials said that accidental fireworks firing weeks before Independence Day can also be worrying for veterans and families with children with special needs.
Although it's unclear what led to an increase in sparklers this year, an expert offered his theory.
"It's a combination of people who get out, are scared and have this pent-up energy, and just around the corner is a typical fireworks holiday," said Bill Weimer, vice president and general counsel of leading US fireworks retailer Phantom Fireworks CNN. "Put the two together, consider the fact that there won't be many fireworks, and suddenly you have a formula that means people are buying more and more fireworks and buying them earlier."
Los Angeles residents can file complaints about the illegal use of fireworks.
LAPD officials also accept illegal fireworks without penalty and residents can call 877-275-5273 for advice.
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