Santa Maria plans to monitor illegal fireworks from the sky

June 20, 2023


The Santa Maria Fire Department plans to use a high-altitude aircraft with video capability and GPS technology to locate residents setting off illegal fireworks during the July 4th festivities.

In an attempt to protect the community, firefighters will use the aircraft to pinpoint firework launches. Those caught setting off fireworks, or owning the property where the illegal activity occurred, face $1,000 fines.

“This tool is in response to hundreds of public complaints each year, and to uphold the law,” the city of Santa Maria stated in a news release on Monday.

Santa Maria allows residents to use city-permitted “safe and sane” fireworks within the city limits during a 12-hour period on July 4, spanning 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The sale of the “safe and sane” fireworks will take place at licensed booths between 12 p.m. on June 28 and 11 p.m. on July 4.

In addition to surveilling fireworks usage, the city maintains a fireworks hotline at (805) 925-0951 ext. 3473.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Santa Maria city government is a model of disfunction.

Santa Maria used to be a great city, but it has gone downhill fast as city leaders sold out to the Big Ag masters, and now it’s sanctuary city, gangster infused and a violent place to be. City leaders don’t even bother to cover over gang grafitti, and Mayor Alice Patino and Supervisor Steve Lavignino have betrayed the public trust voters placed in them.

Santa Maria = gangs, violence, grafitti, lawlessness, illegal aliens, don’t let it happen to a city near you.

The drones have a limited time in the air but the replacement drone can GPS to the needed location instantly. With that, a grid can be established to continuously watch the city and pinpoint any violations. This may work so well that every city will have a skywatch grid for law enforcement, or to watch every move. This is not science fiction anymore. NO need for stationary cameras along the road, drones can follow in a skimpy grid array and be assisted by a available drone when a weak battery calls for a back up.

Most of the fireworks are launched from the streets.

And exactly, how, will individuals be known in order to fine them? Seeing a skyrocket go up from 123 Main St USA, does not prove anyone owning that property was responsible. What about renters who do not own the property?

Use the fancy plane, or drone, to locate activities, and send a patrol to the site…..which is just so “big brother”.

There is no good way to do this, but I could suggest: allow all manner of happy booms and sparks in the Santa Maria Riverbed, at one specific area with easy access and plenty of parking. Nothing but sand to disturb, and throw a clean up party with beer and hot dogs on the 5th!

That’d be too fun, too fiscally responsible, and common sense. We don’t do that around here anymore. Can’t ask for it if you don’t spend it all each year. Keep your head down.

And exactly right. I don’t see a path to making busts based on drone footage. We have pretty impressive blasts in SLO due to those pesky Poly kids. A mortar set a small fire on my neighbor’s deck extinguished with a pitcher of water. They did it all night. SLOPD not interested. And quarter-sticks set off along the tracks, as usual…

I agree that this aircraft idea is ridiculous, but as one who lives across the street from the riverbed, so is that idea. We just had a fire yesterday, started at a homeless camp. Us neighbors are constantly fighting to removed these camps as they start fires every year, multiple fires. It is only a matter of time that one happens on a windy day and takes out a few houses. I’d rather no fireworks in the riverbed as there is lots of dry brush, in addition to the sandy areas.

“Those caught setting off fireworks, or owning the property where the illegal activity occurred, face $1,000 fines”, will these fines be issued solely on the video from the aircraft or does an officer also have to witness them while at the location? This is often the issue, those setting them off know when to stop so officers responding to the location never actually see them and can not issue a fine.

Cities warned of this last year and the year before. It’s an FAA violation to fly above 400 AGL. Police included. They must have navigation lights also. Bottom line, another empty threat. That UAV is gonna get hammered if flying over Santa Maria or Oceano-falluja!

Maybe the City could fly this every night to target the multiple shootings and murders that happen in this Sanctuary City? That’d be much better use of our resources.

They can’t do do a lot about the shootings and murders. That’s gang deep. An effort to not frighten pets or cause injuries during fireworks-based culture is the best they can do. I think the SMPD should live stream their aerial video for our entertainment.