watsonville fireworks
This sign on Rio Del Mar Boulevard warns of a $1,000 fine for illegal use of fireworks. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—Santa Cruz County’s Fourth of July celebration frequently features fireworks, and sales begin today at 20 locations throughout the City of Watsonville for the “safe-and-sane” variety.

These are allowed to be used only in the cities of Capitola and Watsonville.

The problem, law enforcement and fire officials say, is that many of the fireworks used during the holiday are neither safe nor sane, and often are used in areas where they are forbidden.

The days leading up to and away from the fiery fete are a challenge for officials, as out-of-control fireworks spark fires, and loud explosions rock neighborhoods.

And so a traditional part of Independence Day is also a warning to residents: anyone caught with illegal fireworks—those that explode and leave the ground—face a $1,000 fine per firework. Additionally, homeowners, property owners and tenants alike will be cited if there is evidence the fireworks were used on the property.

Watsonville Fire Chief Rudy Lopez says that anyone using “safe-and-sane” fireworks—those sold in Watsonville and carry the state fire marshal approval—should always have a hose ready, and a bucket to soak them in once used.

Never discard used fireworks without soaking them first, he says.

Both Watsonville police and firefighters will be on patrol over the weekend and on the day of issuing the citations.

All fireworks are illegal in the unincorporated parts of Santa Cruz County and the City of Santa Cruz, where scofflaws also face $1,000 tickets and triple fines for fireworks and other violations.

Anyone reporting a fireworks violation should give the exact location, whether they were aerial and whether they pose a hazard.

In Watsonville, nonprofits see the firework sales as their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Fireworks sales are allowed from July 1–4, from 9am until 10pm. The following organizations have been approved to sell fireworks this year:

  • Watsonville High School Track and Field, 20 Ohlone Pkwy.
  • Watsonville Police Activities League (PAL), 355 South Green Valley Rd.
  • Watsonville High School Wrestling, 377 Hushbeck Ave.
  • Watsonville High School Football, 1116 Main St.
  • Watsonville High School Soccer, 570 Main St.
  • Pajaro Valley Lodge #110, 1465 Main St.
  • United Pentecostal Church, 1820 Freedom Blvd.
  • Watsonville Jr Wildcatz, 712 East Lake Ave.
  • Pajaro Valley Little League, 1051 South Green Valley Rd.
  • Pajaro Valley Youth Soccer, 1125 South Green Valley Rd.
  • Pajaro Valley Girls Softball, 444 Airport Blvd.
  • Watsonville Youth Training Center, 1424 Freedom Blvd.
  • Watsonville Charter School, 2010 Freedom Blvd.
  • Watsonville Victory Outreach 1, 707 Freedom Blvd.
  • Watsonville Victory Outreach 2, 1702 Freedom Blvd.
  • Freedom Rotary Club, 1966 Main St.
  • Moreland Notre Dame, 643 Main St.
  • Watsonville Buddhist Temple, 423 Bridge St.
  • Watsonville TaeKwonDo, 1007 East Lake Ave.
  • Pajaro Valley High School Athletics, 601 Main St.
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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


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