FRESNO, California (KGPE) – “We reach unhealthy levels of particulate matter pollution on the evening of 4th of July and this really impacts a lot of folks,” said Anthony Presto, Air Quality Education Representative, for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
As COVID-19 regulations lift, large gatherings and parties are coming back just in time to celebrate the 4th. Today was the first day firework stands were able to open and at the Phantom Fireworks booth on Herndon and Fowler in Clovis, organizers believe people will continue holding their own shows.
“Last year was a record-breaking year and I’m hoping we do better than the last year. I will tell you that they’ve talked about a shortage of fireworks, so you’re probably going to want to hit the stands sooner than later,” said Sean Warkentin, the Program Director for the Crossfire Recreational Teen Soccer.
Firework stands are run by nonprofits that rely on the funding to help keep their organization going. One customer, Orlando Ramirez says the pandemic changed the way his family celebrates the holiday.
“I think our whole neighborhood, the kids just chose to quarantine with each other this last year and a half, so to just have this year after year for the kids, the bonding, it’s just great and I don’t think we’d change it for the world.”
Ramirez added he’s still cautious about COVID.
“I just think having two kids, I don’t think it’s convenient for myself to go to the events and be with a large crowd. We still haven’t done the large crowd thing since COVID.”
But the Valley Air District hopes the public is aware of the health dangers smaller fireworks can bring.
“Personal fireworks are creating so much down here at ground level –It’s not just smoke that we’re breathing in, it’s other toxics because fireworks have heavy metals in them,” said Presto.