This year San Bernardino County Fire Prevention Officers will try a new tool to combat illegal fireworks in the communities they serve—contact-free citations.

Rather than chasing down everyone using illegal pyrotechnics, patrolling fire investigators will use geographic information systems (GIS) data to pinpoint the exact location of the violation.

Fire investigators will take photographs and collect other evidence before remotely issuing the property owner an administrative citation that carries a fine of up to $1,250.

Fire officials use a similar GIS system to issue fire hazard abatement notices when property owners neglect to remove weeds, brush, and other fire hazards as required by County ordinance.

A third-party vendor processes the citations and sends them via certified mail. The citations usually arrive about a week to two weeks after being issued.

Landlords may want to remind their tenants not to use illegal fireworks since the citation will be issued to the owner of record, not the tenant.

“Property owners are responsible for what occurs on their property,” Deputy Fire Marshal Adam Panos said.

Property owners will also be given the opportunity to appeal citations.

Fire Marshal Mike Horton said County Fire will utilize contact-free citations in all of the communities it serves. In addition to all unincorporated areas, County Fire serves the cities of Fontana, Grand Terrace, Upland, San Bernardino, Adelanto, Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, and Needles.

In addition to issuing contact-free citations, fire investigators will also directly issue $1,250 administrative citations to those caught using illegal fireworks at parks, in the street, or in other public places.

Click here for more information about County Fire’s fireworks enforcement efforts.