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    Los Alamitos is the 11th Orange County city to allow July 4 fireworks sale, use
    • June 30, 2023

    Los Alamitos residents can set off their own Fourth of July fireworks at home for the first time in 37 years.

    This year, Los Alamitos is joining the 10 other Orange County cities that have been allowing the sale and use of legal “safe and sane” fireworks.

    Two stands selling the fireworks are being allowed, one in the Vons parking lot at 11322 Los Alamitos Blvd., and the other shopping center at 4141 Katella Ave. They will open on Saturday, July 1, and sell through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Safe and sane fireworks must carry the California Fire Marshall seal.

    Anaheim booths are the first in the county to start sales, which kicked off Wednesday in that city. Most of the cities allow sales from July 1 to 4, a few start on June 30 each year. Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton, Villa Park and Westminster all allow fireworks sales.

    Lisa Clemons, right, hands a bag of fireworks to a customer at the fireworks stand for the Anaheim Amateur Figure Skating Association at 420 N. Euclid in Anaheim on Thursday, June 29, 2023. Anaheim residents may purchase the approved fireworks from June 28 to July 4 at 16 stands throughout Anaheim. Fireworks are banned for the Anaheim Hills area east of the 55 freeway and southeast of the 91 freeway. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Alamitos hosts a free annual fireworks show with Seal Beach at the Joint Forces Training Base, which is attended by 7,500 to 10,000 people each year, City Manager Chet Simmons said.

    Now in its 36th year, the event has been moved to July 3 – gates open at 4 p.m. and the fireworks are at 9 – to allow the military personnel the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day with their families. So in December, the City Council approved the use and sale of fireworks so Los Alamitos residents could light their own on July 4.

    For more, see: Where you can see July 4 fireworks in Orange County

    Another driving force in the discussion to legalize fireworks was the city’s proximity to other communities that allow their use, meaning residents were purchasing them elsewhere and bringing them home, Councilmember Shelley Hasselbrink said.

    “And it’s not going to stop illegal fireworks at all,” she said.

    After discussing with major fireworks distributors and other cities with fireworks booths, Los Alamitos leaders decided that their city of about 11,700 people could accommodate two booths, Simmons said.

    The booths will be operated by the Los Alamitos Community Foundation to raise money for three main projects: a Police Department canine program, an adaptive recreation program and an urban forest program. Hasselbrink, who is also the foundation’s treasurer, said a police dog could help the officers tackle drug sales and the adaptive recreation program could help children with disabilities.

    She estimated that each booth could make about $20,000 in profit.

    Volunteers from four or five other nonprofits have also been trained to help operate the booths.

    As the council was discussing reversing the ban on fireworks, concerns were raised about their effects on pets. The city has posted firework safety tips on its website and social media.

    “Safe and sane isn’t going to add to pets’ distress,” Hasselbrink said, noting how loud the night already is with the illegal fireworks people have been using. “They’re already distressed.”

    Hasselbrink has never sold fireworks before and said she is looking forward to her shift in one of the booths on Saturday. Through the fireworks sales, she said she’ll be getting to share the fond memories from her childhood of the Fourth of July. There are kids in Los Alamitos who have never held a sparkler, she said.

    All cities in Orange County prohibit the use of fireworks without the state seal and many have hefty fines for those caught using illegal fireworks.

    Los Alamitos and most cities also restrict the use of the safe and sane fireworks to the Fourth of July; Santa Ana and Stanton also their use starting Saturday and Costa Mesa on Sunday. In Anaheim, fireworks of any kind are prohibited in in the hilly eastern side of Anaheim where wildfires are a risk. The ban runs east of the 55 and east and southeast of the 91 freeway.

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    ​ Orange County Register