July 4th is the day we celebrate our nation’s independence. It is a time for family and friends to come together with picnics, community events and fireworks shows.
In the past weeks, my office has received a number of calls from Fontana citizens asking about the sale and use of fireworks in the City of Fontana. Three years ago, the City Council took an action to ban the sale and use of all fireworks in the City of Fontana. The action was taken for a number of reasons including concerns about public safety and fire dangers. Since many community groups, however, rely upon the sale of fireworks to assist them financially, the City Council elected to approve a phase out period that would result in the elimination of the sale and use of all fireworks by July, 2009.
Last year a petition was circulated within the community, and enough legal signatures were gathered to require a special election to be held in support of continuing the legal sale and use of safe and sane fireworks in the community. Once this petition was certified by the County as being valid, the City Council was left with the option of either calling for a special election or approving an ordinance that would allow for the sale of safe and sane fireworks. The projected cost of the special election was estimated at $400,000. After a great deal of deliberation on the issue, the City Council decided, by split vote, to approve the continued sale and use of safe and sane fireworks in order to spare the significant expense of a special election.
As a result, the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks continues to be allowed in the City. There are a couple of important restrictions to note about the use of fireworks in Fontana. First, no fireworks are allowed to be used in high risk fire areas. These areas are defined in the ordinance as being west of the 15 freeway, north of Summit and east of Lytle Creek. Second, the use of fireworks that are not classified as “safe and sane” (e.g., those that explode or shoot into the area) are strictly prohibited. The Police Department will be out in force again this July 4th and will be citing individuals who violate the City’s code. Fines of $1,000 can be issued for fireworks violations.
Another change this year is related to the annual fireworks show put on by the City of Fontana. For the past several years, the City of Fontana has been hosting a fireworks show for the community at Fontana High School. Each year, this event has sold out and many people have been turned away. Thus, this year, the City has partnered with the Auto Club Speedway and KFROG to hold the annual fireworks show at the Speedway. Discount tickets have been made available to residents of the City of Fontana. The Speedway provides a large enough venue for all to enjoy, and an evening of entertainment and fireworks is a wonderful and safe alternative to setting off fireworks at home. The City of Fontana is very excited about this new partnership and would like to invite all of you to attend this year’s event.
Whatever your plans are for celebrating the Fourth of July this year, please remember to be safe and considerate of those around you. The City of Fontana is a wonderful community with a tremendous heritage of community spirit and pride. Enjoy the holiday and remember to be safe.