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Less of that red glare in the SCV

Fourth of July fireworks shows in Santa Clarita Valley dwindle in numbers

Posted: June 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

In this July, 2009 photo, people gather atop the Westfield Valencia Town Center parking structure to watch the Santa Clarita Valley fireworks exhibition on Independence Day. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

Santa Clarita Valley residents will find fewer local sites to enjoy the rockets’ red glare and the bombs bursting in air this Independence Day — thanks largely to the extended drought.

Castaic Lake Recreation Area canceled its traditional Fourth of July festivities this year, citing the dangerous dryness of the surrounding landscape. The lake is also closed to swimming.

And Six Flags Magic Mountain officials say they’re not going to do a fireworks show this year. The last one there was in 2007, spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said.

“We are being a good community partner and are conscious of the surrounding drought,” Carpenter said. The park famous for its roller coasters will, however, host a laser show for guests admitted to the location.

That leaves just two — where once there were four — Santa Clarita Valley pyrotechnics shows this year: one at Westfield Valencia Town Center hosted by the city of Santa Clarita, the other at Richard Rioux Park in Stevenson Ranch.

The city’s fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m. on the Fourth of July and will last about 20 to 30 minutes, accompanied by a live broadcast soundtrack on KHTS AM 1220.

Stevenson Ranch’s Independence Day celebration will be held at Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park. It will include activities and a performance by a jazz band, culminating in the fireworks show at 9 p.m. and continuing for about half an hour, said Recreation Services Supervisor Doug Newell.

For those who might be thinking about avoiding the crowds and hosting a modest “safe and sane” fireworks show at home, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Roosevelt Johnson has one word: Don’t.

“I would like to remind residents that all fireworks, including those fireworks classified as ‘safe and sane,’ are illegal within the city of Santa Clarita and unincorporated communities,” Johnson said in a warning statement this week.

That eliminates the entire Santa Clarita Valley.

Penalties for using illegal fireworks can include fines of $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

“All of our patrol deputies will be fully staffed and we will have special teams ready to engage the use of illegal fireworks,” Johnson said.

Capt. Marshall Oldham of Fire Station 126 and Dr. Bud Lawrence, an 11-year veteran emergency room physician at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, both urged residents to attend a professional fireworks show rather than conducting their own.

“We are presented with a significant threat of fire danger due to the dry brush that surrounds the city, and we do not want anybody to lose their home on a holiday celebrating our nation’s independence,” Oldham said.

Lawrence said it’s not unusual for Independence Day to mean the hospital sees patients “who come in with burns, injuries to the hand, loss of digits, and/or loss of eyes” due to illegal fireworks.

“Seeing an authorized fireworks show is safe and everyone gets to go home,” said Fire Department Inspector Scott Miller. “Fire danger is minimized by 100 percent.”

The Santa Clarita Valley offers a number of Independence Day-related activities that don’t involve any rockets.
The big event — the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade — steps off at 9 a.m. in downtown Newhall with classic cars, group floats, equestrian units and custom-made pooper scoopers.

It’s preceded by the traditional Santa Clarita Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast and Independence Day Run.

And for those hankering after something a little different, residents can head up Highway 14 about 20 miles to see the Acton Rangers stage a “shootout” at the Acton Community Center following Acton’s annual Fourth of July Parade. It starts at 9 a.m. along Crown Valley Road.


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