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Los Angeles Launches Fireworks Buyback Program

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The city of Los Angeles is launching its first-ever fireworks buyback program in the ongoing effort to curb the use of illegal fireworks.

The first fireworks buyback event will take place Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Brand Park parking lot in Mission Hills. For fireworks -- including aerials, maximum charge, explosive, and finales -- city officials are offering gift cards to retailers like Target and Food 4 Less.

"We've got Target gift cards, Food 4 Less, we've got a number of valued items that we can provide members of the community in exchange for voluntarily returning these explosives in a safe and responsible manner," Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said.

City officials are ramping up efforts this year to crack down on fireworks, which are all illegal to both buy and set off in Los Angeles. Last week, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer sent cease-and-desist letters to sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, and 5 Miles, who had been hosting ads offering fireworks for sale in the city of Los Angeles.

The LAPD's online fireworks portal – where residents can report illegal fireworks in their neighborhoods – was also opened earlier than usual this year.

"Fireworks pose an imminent threat to the community causing injury and distress to people and animals, exacerbating the environmental impacts of air pollution, and endangering our communities in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone," city officials said in a statement.

Several communities in Southern California are cracking down hard on fireworks this year, especially after a stockpile of fireworks exploded at an Ontario home in March, killing 2 people.

But if Los Angeles is offering a carrot to curb fireworks use, other cities are using the stick. Pomona is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people selling or storing fireworks, while Riverside has a minimum $1,000 fine for anyone using fireworks.

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