FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Local fire departments with all-hands-on-deck, as crews prepare for one of the busiest days of the year.

This year, the department staffed more firefighters, and equipment and has increased the fines for illegal fireworks. While the department hopes this helps ease the workload, firefighters started off the morning busy.

Plumes of black smoke filled the air in central Fresno, as over 30 firefighters doused the inferno that ripped through a home on Turner Avenue, near 8th Street.

No injuries after Fresno home destroyed in fire
The home near Turner Avenue and 8th Street was declared a total loss by fire crews.

Historically, the 4th of July is one of the busiest days for the Fresno Fire Department.

“When we talk to other resources in the state of California, other regular departments aren’t even a quarter of as busy as we are,” said Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo.

Escobedo said last year, firefighters responded to hundreds of fire calls, many due to illegal fireworks.

As residents flooded the phone lines, for a period, firefighters didn’t go to medical calls or new fire calls.

“Protecting life, or the environment, is our priority,” said Escobedo. “When we can’t do that, you take our breath away because we know we are fighting this fire and we can see the column of smoke down the street.”

The city hired extra firefighters, added equipment, and increased fines for illegal fireworks to relieve strain.

“We are not taking illegal fireworks lightly,” said Battalion Chief Kevin McGuire.

McGuire pleaded with residents to think twice about lighting off illegal fireworks. He said on Sunday, a large grass fire in the county destroyed cars, boats, and two homes.

A fire ripped through two homes near Armstrong and California avenues on Sunday night.

While the cause is under investigation, witnesses said they saw and heard fireworks in the area.

“I know people think they are fun, they are celebrating the 4th of July, which I am all about but do it in a safe way,” said McGuire. “And if you are taking action that is gonna affect your neighbors think of that ahead of time and do the right things.”

The police and fire departments will write fines not only for the people shooting off the illegal fireworks, which is anything that explodes or leaves the ground but also to the homeowner where those fireworks are being shot off at.