A Fresno Police Department vehicle in Downtown Fresno. Omar Rashad | Fresnoland

How much is the fine?

Fresno police can issue up to $5,000 in fines to repeat offenders.


Like claps of thunder, these noises piercing through the sky are a trademark of the Fourth of July in Fresno.

With Independence Day celebrations upon us, it can be difficult to distinguish between holiday fireworks and gunshots.

While sounding similar, fireworks and gunshots have a few unique traits that can help differentiate them.

John Goodpaster, associate director of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, told USA Today that fireworks have a very sporadic sound, followed by a pop and sometimes a crackling or sizzling sound.

Gunshots have a more uniform and rhythmic ‘pop’ followed by silence.

Oaklandside reported that gunshots and fireworks can still be challenging to tell apart due to the sudden and surprising nature at which they sound off and the possibility of more than one firearm.

However, Oakland police emphasize that the straight sound of a gun’s caliber is much different than the scattered sound of a firework.

Fines for illegal fireworks

City officials also warn citizens of fines for illegal fireworks.

Last year, the Fresno City ordinance placed strict fees for anyone caught possessing illegal fireworks such as skyrockets, Roman candles, and any other fireworks that can be launched into the sky.

Residents can expect a $2,000 fine for a first offense, $3,000 for a second offense within 12 months, and $5,000 for third and subsequent violations. Each fine also carries a $250 administrative fee.

Last year, Fresno police issued 90 fines.

Fireworks impact on air quality

Fireworks bring pollution to hazardous levels, especially in the central San Joaquin Valley, where air quality is already an issue.

In 2021, for example, harmful fine particulate matter was “off the charts” due to the Fourth of July festivities in the Central Valley, The Fresno Bee reported.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alan Reppert told Newsweek that fireworks events can push the air quality index from “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy.”

In the Central Valley, these levels are four to five times higher than the federal standard.

Residuals such as lead and copper can linger in the air in the hours after fireworks celebrations and can last until about noon the following day.

This places children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with lung and heart diseases at risk of respiratory harm.

Who else can be affected by fireworks?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 3.6% of the U.S. adult population, about 9 million people have PTSD.

Those with PTSD may also be triggered by the brightness or excessive noise caused by fireworks.

To avoid this, NAMI suggests keeping up to date with fireworks celebrations and when and where they will take place so that one is not caught unprepared.

Wearing ear protection like earplugs and watching from a distance may also help.

Knowing how to calm yourself is also very important. Practicing simple breathing techniques could combat levels of stress brought on by fireworks.

Pets and fireworks

For those with animals that are fearful of fireworks, ensuring they are inside is crucial to their well-being.

Leaving the curtains closed with some music or T.V. playing may help deter any anxieties felt by your furry friends.

Additionally, trying your best to make sure your animals aren’t left alone will go a long way in calming their nerves.

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