An extreme heat wave is not the only risk that authorities are cautioning Morgan Hill residents to prepare for this holiday weekend. Illegal fireworks—in addition to posing a fire danger—can result in fines up $1,500 for local violators, Morgan Hill Police said. 

MHPD has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal fireworks in Morgan Hill. Officers will be patrolling the city on July 4, the department said last week. Furthermore, through July 7, citations issued for possession or use of illegal fireworks in Morgan Hill will impose triple the amount of fines during non-holiday periods. 

“Our surrounding hills are extremely dry, and all fireworks pose a significant threat to the safety of our community,” MHPD said in a press release. “In addition to these hazards, the loud noises and flashing lights scare pets, and the explosions can harm citizens suffering from post-traumatic stress.”

The city’s administrative fines for illegal fireworks violations from July 1-7 will rise to $300 for a first offense, $600 for a second offense and $1,500 a third violation, police said. 

Furthermore, possession of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor under state law, and can result in fines up to $5,000 and one year in the county jail, authorities added. 

As of this January, Assembly Bill 1403, doubles the state’s fines for illegal fireworks. Under the new law, misdemeanors penalty fines range between $1,000 to $2,000, and the potential of a year in county jail. 

Those fines increase tenfold for people possessing large amounts of dangerous fireworks, with a potential for up to three years in a California state prison. 

Additionally, parents of willful violators are held liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using illegal fireworks. 

Police said that “safe and sane” fireworks purchased in other communities are still illegal in the City of Morgan Hill, which does not allow limited holiday fireworks sales as some neighboring cities do. 

Cal Fire authorities have also cautioned the public about fire hazards associated with illegal fireworks. 

“Protect your community by preventing fires and injuries caused by fireworks,” says a statement from Cal Fire. “Before you think about buying fireworks for your celebration, make sure they are permitted where you live.”

Fire authorities emphasize that residents should “let the experts handle the fireworks” by seeking a licensed, professional fireworks show in or near their community the night of July 4. 

In Morgan Hill, the Freedom Fest Fireworks on the Green show will take place at the Outdoor Sports Center, with the fireworks display scheduled to begin about 9:30pm July 4. 

In Gilroy, a professional fireworks display is scheduled for 9:30pm July 4 at Gilroy High School. 

“With fireworks causing over $46 million in property loss statewide over the last decade with over 10,500 fires in total, preventing fires and injuries caused by fireworks begins with you,” said Chief Daniel Berlant, California State Fire Marshal. “Don’t be the reason your Fourth of July holiday goes up in smoke.”

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, 66% of injuries from illegal fireworks in 2023 occurred in the weeks before and after the July 4 Holiday. Nationally, 9,700 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks related injuries, with eight deaths. Twenty percent of those injuries affected people’s eyes, but 35% were injuries to hands and fingers. 

Teenagers ages 15-19 had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, with children ages 5-9 having the second highest rate. 

The commission advises people to never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.

This story includes reporting from Bay City News. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


  1. I gotta say – not too many fireworks this year which is a good thing. I’m off Hale just south of Llagas Ave, and it was pretty quiet. May likely been the tamest in all the time I’ve been here (since ’98). It was rather nice.

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  2. Lt. Geeno Gular with the SJPD and 7th Psyops Group is a Dog Killer and uses his army buddies to harass innocent people.
    Now he can’t even look in my direction because of how guilty he feels.

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