As the Fourth of July approaches, officials throughout Santa Barbara County are reminding community members of safety precautions regarding fireworks to keep the holiday enjoyable and safe for everyone.
“Each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using illegal fireworks,” the Santa Barbara County Fire Department stated on its website. “Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks — devastating burns, eye injuries, fires and even death can occur.”
“Safe and sane” fireworks can be purchased in Lompoc and Santa Maria through Tuesday and are to be used only within the city limits of Santa Maria, Lompoc and Guadalupe.
In Lompoc, nonprofit organizations authorized to sell the fireworks include Cornerstone Church of Lompoc, the Lompoc Employee Development Association, First Apostolic Church, Lompoc Valley Baptist Church, Victory Outreach Church and the Lompoc Valley Parks, Recreation and Pool Foundation.
Lompoc spokeswoman Samantha Scroggin said that fireworks in Lompoc may be used only from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, and the only city-sanctioned open discharge area is in the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau parking lot.
All fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks, are prohibited in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County and in the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Buellton and Solvang.
In Santa Barbara, the Police Department and fire inspectors are teaming up to monitor illegal fireworks and conduct active enforcement patrols over the holiday weekend.
City officials said police officers will be in the field looking for impaired drivers and will be assigned to foot patrols along the State Street promenade and waterfront area on Tuesday. Additional traffic patrols throughout Santa Barbara began Friday.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department recommends public, professional fireworks shows as the safest way to enjoy fireworks — with displays put on by the City of Santa Barbara from West Beach and by the Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Club from Old Mission Santa Inès, both starting at 9 p.m.
For areas where fireworks are legal, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department suggests having a hose or buckets of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire, and to douse used or malfunctioning fireworks in water before discarding.
County Fire also advises against using fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, as that can greatly increase the chance of injury.
Finally, if a firework does not go off, County Fire says not to approach or touch it.
City of Santa Barbara Animal Control reminds residents that pets go missing on the Fourth of July more than any other day of the year because of the loud fireworks, and recommends that people secure their pets indoors if going to fireworks displays or if they will not be home while fireworks are going off outside.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services suggests getting microchips for four-legged family members or updating the information on current microchips. SBCAS is also offering free crates for loan through Tuesday at any of its shelters. Pets reported found, either in or out of the shelter, are available to view here.
Windows and doors should be securely shut, and pet owners should consider using a white noise machine, fan, radio or television to drown out the firework sounds outside.
More tips for pet owners to prepare for the Fourth of July can be found on Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ website here.
Road closures for Tuesday include Solvang’s State Route 246 in both directions from Fifth Street to Pine Drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate the Independence Day Parade.
In Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf will be closed to incoming vehicles beginning at 3:30 p.m., and vehicles will not be allowed to exit Stearns Wharf starting at 4:30 p.m.
Starting at 6 p.m., Cabrillo Boulevard will be closed from Calle Cesar Chavez to Harbor Way, Castillo Street will be closed at West Montecito Street, and Garden Street will be closed at Highway 101. Traffic exiting Highway 101 at Garden Street after 6 p.m. will be diverted north.
Those road closures are set to be lifted about one hour after the fireworks show concludes. The show will be launched from West Beach beginning at 9 p.m.