Calls for fires and illegal fireworks up dramatically in 2020

 Kern County firefighters handled thousands of illegal fireworks and fire calls in the days leading up to and on the Fourth of July, a huge increase in call volume from prior years.

The KCFD received 2,410 total illegal fireworks reports, a 660 percent increase over 2018. There were 316 n 2018.

Total calls were up by 58.5 percent from 4,369 in 2018 to 6,925 this year over the three-day holiday weekend.

(THE KCFD didn't use 2019 for comparison because of a sharp spike in calls from the two Ridgecrest earthquakes).

County firefighters and arson investigators wrote 35 citations for possession or use of illegal fireworks in 2020, KCFD spokesman Andrew Freeborn said.

"Firefighters have responded to reports of illegal fireworks and the Arson Unit has investigated reports pertaining to users and distributors. As a result of these efforts thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks were seized," he said,

Despite those efforts, illegal aerial fireworks were common throughout the county as they were around the state and nation.