Reporting Illegal Fireworks: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The popping sounds can already be heard in the night—dangerous and illegal fireworks acting as an unwanted precursor to the approaching Independence Day holiday. Amid an ongoing drought that’s created heightened conditions for sparking fires, it’s more important than ever to report unsanctioned fireworks throughout the city to prevent tragic incidents from harming people and/or property.

This Fourth of July, teamwork will make the dream work—teamwork being residents actively reporting illegal fireworks to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the dream work being keeping our city and its people safe.

First, here’s where locals can catch the LEGAL fireworks! On the Fourth of July, San Francisco will set off fireworks from two locations along the waterfront: Off Municipal Pier and also nearby Pier 39. The free show starts at 9:30 p.m. and will last 30 minutes.

Returning to the illegal fireworks, SF SAFE offers a reminder to the community that San Francisco has a zero tolerance for the use and sale of ALL fireworks. According to the SFPD, in San Francisco, it’s illegal to possess or use fireworks such as sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers and other types that explode, launch into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner. This policy also includes so-called “safe” fireworks such as sparklers and fountains.

Setting off any of the aforementioned fireworks can potentially land you in jail, saddle you with a large fine or seriously injure you or a loved one. There’s a compelling reason for our city’s strict fireworks policy. Per the SFPD, on average, more than 12,000 fireworks-related injuries are treated annually in U.S. emergency rooms. Of these injuries, half involve children; parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Those who witness illegal fireworks (and again, ALL fireworks are illegal in San Francisco) should call the SFPD’s non-emergency number at 415-553-0123. Describe to the dispatcher what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing and the location where you think it’s coming from.

When observing fireworks that are especially hazardous in nature, such as larger explosives like Roman candles where there’s the high potential for fire, call 911.

To report the unlawful sale or storage of fireworks, call 415-553-0123, the SFPD tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and start the text message with SFPD. You can also contact the SFPD about suspected illegal fireworks by emailing them at

Working together, let’s make it a safe, celebratory and worry-free Fourth of July!