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Riverside lights the sky for Fourth of July

There are two locations Riversiders can enjoy fireworks displays this Independence Day, while any pyrotechnics set off illegally will result in no less than a $1,000 fine.

The traditional Mt. Rubidoux fireworks show was deemed a risk too dangerous for a historically dry year by city staff and Riverside police and fire departments. In a press conference earlier this week, council members Erin Edwards (Ward 1), Steve Hemenway (Ward 7) and Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson announced La Sierra and Ryan Bonaminio Parks would serve as this year’s centers of Fourth of July celebrations.

“The show starts at 9 p.m. and definitely will be something you don’t want to miss,” Hemenway said.

The show at Ryan Bonaminio Park, just adjacent to the base of Mt. Rubidoux, will also begin at 9 p.m.

“Ward 1 is thrilled to host a fireworks display again this year,” Edwards said. “It will be the same caliber show, just at Ryan Bonaminio Park.”

Riverside Fire Department Chief Michael Moore said the brushfire risk continues to grow in recent years, causing concern for the safety of emergency response personnel this holiday season.

“Last year, we had approximately 1,200 calls for service for fire-related type incidents,” Moore said. “And we also had a number of fires. We had somewhere around 18 actual structure fires during the Fourth of July holiday period. This was about 500 more calls than the previous year.”

With a 40 percent decrease in rainfall this year compared to last, Moore said the near-drought season motivated their development of a patrolling taskforce whose aim is to suppress any additional fire danger.

Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez encouraged anyone who would report the use of illegal fireworks not to call 911, which distracts police dispatch from other time-sensitive emergencies. “Instead call 311, use the Riverside 311 mobile app … Or the non-emergency number if you know the exact location of the illegal fireworks which is (951)354-2007,” Gonzalez said.