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Illegal Fireworks In Spotlight As Fourth Of July Draws Near During California Drought

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As California continues to battle extreme drought conditions, local fire and police departments are gearing up for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and concerns over fire danger.

Neighbors are still cleaning up in a Natomas neighborhood where illegal fireworks nearly burned down homes.

Beginning this week, possession or use of illegal fireworks could be met with maximum penalties, including jail time.

Sharron Potter knows firsthand how quickly a small fireworks flame can turn destructive. A fire destroyed her backyard fence over the weekend.

"It's unsafe for everyone," she said. "You can destroy somebody's livelihood just because you want to have fun for 15 seconds. They are illegal for a reason."

This year, Fire Marshal George Apple says the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department will double the number of officers whose priority will be finding and arresting people who use, sell or have illegal fireworks. The move could put between 30 and 40 additional officers on the street.

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