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City Officials In Dallas Plan To Crack Down On Illegal July 4 Fireworks

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Dallas city officials are warning residents ahead of the July 4 weekend that it's illegal to purchase, use or possess fireworks within Dallas city limits. They say they plan to fine anyone who breaks the law.

The Dallas Police Department has put together its own task force in order to prevent the use of celebratory fireworks this weekend. City officials say violators could face $2,000 fines.

The law was put into place because fireworks can be harmful to the environment, animals, people with special needs and those living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Brian Martinez, a senior corporal with the Dallas Police Department, said Independence Day is typically a busy holiday for the department and fireworks further complicate things.

“Every Fourth of July, we get hundreds, even thousands of phone calls regarding fireworks. With the amount of officers we have, it becomes a challenge to respond within a reasonable time to those firework calls,” Martinez said.

The Dallas Fire Department faces similar struggles, according to Public Information Officer Jason Evans.

“What we typically see an increase in is the number of brush fires, grass fires and trash fires. Each year there's always going to be a couple of fires that are a result of fireworks,” he said.

Evans also mentioned a number of precautions his department was taking in order to combat anticipated fires.

“We’ll have people patrolling for illegal firework use, and each team is going to consist of two fire inspection officers and a police officer,” Evans said. “We will also have a fire prevention officer down in the fire communications center that notify those teams specifically for calls of illegal fireworks uses, they can respond to those. It’s a lot more people on call than usual.”

In place of setting off fireworks, Martinez suggested alternative ways to celebrate, including attending sociallydistanced parties, parades and cookouts.

KERA’s Art&Seek team has also compiled a list of places where North Texas residents can watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at hpanjwani@kera.org. Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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