Celebrating Fourth of July Safely in Malibu

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Fireworks

Bring your blankets and find a parking spot early because sparks will fly on Saturday with four separate fireworks shows scheduled around Malibu in celebration of Independence Day.

Professional permits were issued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LAFD) Fire Prevention Office for four fireworks displays to be launched from barges off the Malibu coast, an alert from the City said. 

The offshore shows begin around 9 p.m. at Malibu Colony Road, Broad Beach Road, the 21600 block of PCH and Paradise Cove.

While people travel and purchase legal fireworks out of town, bringing them back to Malibu is a liability and could result in one of many repercussions, according to Captain Michael McCormick with the Calabasas Fire Prevention office.

“PCH will be congested,” McCormick said. “We are encouraging all residents to attend a professional show and stay away from any of the illegal fireworks.”

Sheriffs and LAFD have been busy confiscating illegal fireworks leading up to the big celebration and have already collected multiple unsafe explosives.

“I have seen injuries from fireworks,” McCormick said. “They are dangerous, as much fun as they might be … you could lose some digits.”

With the growing drought issues in California, dry conditions have increased chances a fire may erupt on this busy day due to illegal fireworks and campfires. 

“The live fuel moistures today are at levels we don’t see until August. That just shows how much of a drought we are in,” McCormick said. 

On one of Malibu’s busiest weekends of the summer, multiple agencies will be on patrol at many of the anticipated crowded beaches and also around town.

“We are anticipating a large turnout,” said Lieutenant Jim Royal with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. “We have adequate resources to handle situations and the vast majority of people are peaceful.”

The Sheriff’s Station’s Beach Patrol will be patrolling sands on all-terrain vehicles, horses and on foot across Malibu to protect beachgoers and request visitors leave glass and alcohol at home and not on the beach. 

“Normally, we all work,” McCormick said of area firefighters. “There’s just so much happening. As we get close, the first few days, you’re gonna see a couple acres of fires due to fireworks. We’re really at a max potential.”

Animals are always a concern on the busy holiday and agencies enlist the help of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Control for reported missing animals spooked by the loud noises from fireworks.

Another widely forgotten component on the Fourth of July holiday are veterans and other post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers, McCormick said, referencing signs on yards alerting neighbors of veterans who may be affected by the noises.

“Please use caution with fireworks, this is a veteran’s house,” McCormick noted seeing in a resident’s yard. “It’s something we don’t normally think about either. Not only is it important that we know these time frames so we can prepare our animals, but we have the opportunity to inform the public, like the veterans and other citizens, for a heads up.”

LAFD and LASD encourage residents to plan ahead for Independence Day celebrations and any illegal fireworks found can be dropped off at any fire or sheriff’s station.  

“All the preparation we do and how quick our services are, there’s one item that saves more lives than our firefighters — fire detectors in your home,” McCormick said. “For the illegal fireworks, animals, any fire or illegal smoke — report it.”