An SBPD officer writes a ticket with fireworks on the dashboard

Celebrate Fourth of July Safely

Authored on
Image shows an American flag with the seals for the City, City Fire and Police

Independence Day is a special occasion meant for celebration, but it's crucial to be aware of the potential dangers that come with it. From injuries caused by fireworks and the risk of wildfires to overindulgence and reckless driving, there are several factors that can put you and your family at risk over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The City wants to take this opportunity to remind the community about some important topics to keep in mind during the upcoming July Fourth weekend. Remember that staying safe means taking the time to think before you react.

We are also proud of our sense of community and implore people to be courteous of their neighbors. While our nation celebrates the freedom that comes from the sacrifice of service members, Tuesday’s celebration of America’s birthday can cause stress for some veterans. The loud and unexpected noises, like the sounds from fireworks, are very common triggers for many combat veterans who are suffering from PTSD.


  • Personal fireworks are dangerous and illegal in the City. Even pyrotechnics labeled “safe and sane” are illegal. If you are caught with fireworks of any kind, the fine could be costly. The use of unauthorized fireworks can easily create a brush fire or result in serious injury. Misdemeanor citations could be issued to those possessing or using personal fireworks within the City.
  • City Fire personnel want to remind folks that each year, fireworks cause thousands of injuries and fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 12,264 fires in 2021. Hospital emergency rooms across the country treated approximately 11,500 people for firework-related injuries that same year. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for almost one-quarter of the estimated 2021 firework-related injuries.

The only LEGAL fireworks are blasting off from the Waterfront during the official City Fourth of July Celebration, hosted by the Waterfront and Parks and Recreation Departments. The event will include a stage on the sands of West Beach with a full lineup of free live music and dance performances starting at noon, and the closures of State Street, from Gutierrez Street to Cabrillo Boulevard, and Cabrillo Boulevard from Castillo Street to Calle Cesar Chavez, to allow crowds to take the celebration to the streets starting at 6 p.m. The day will conclude with a 20-minute fireworks display, launching from West Beach starting at approximately 9 p.m. For more information on the City’s Independence Day Festivities, the full media release can be found here.

Police & Fire Joint Enforcement:

  • The Police Department and Fire Inspectors are teaming up this year to monitor illegal fireworks by conducting active enforcement patrols over the holiday weekend. We want to remind the Santa Barbara community that any fireworks (other than professional) are illegal. Possession or use of fireworks could result in a citation. 
  • Police are expecting a large influx of people within the City over the holiday weekend. In addition to the joint fireworks enforcement, SBPD will have officers in the field looking for impaired drivers. Also, officers will be assigned to foot patrols along the State Street Promenade and waterfront area Tuesday, July 4. There will be additional traffic patrols throughout the City starting Friday, June 30.
  • We request that all those driving, bicycling, and walking within the community abide by traffic laws and have a sober driver, utilize taxis, or use a ride-share app if you are consuming alcoholic beverages. If you see an impaired driver call 9-1-1.

Protect Your Pets:

Santa Barbara City Animal Control would like to remind pet owners that are four-legged family members go missing during the Fourth of July, more than any other day of the year. If you are attending the City’s Fourth of July festivities or will not be home during the fireworks, please secure your pet indoors. It is not recommended to leave your pet outside loose in a yard on the evening of July Fourth.

  • Provide a safe place for your pets and make sure the doors and windows of your home are securely shut. Make sure to close windows and draw curtains and blinds to add an extra layer of soundproofing.
  • Consider using a white noise machine, fan or radio to drown out outside noise.
  • This is also a timely reminder to update your pet’s ID tag and microchip info.

If your pet unfortunately gets lost, contact Animal Control at (805) 963-1513 or Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter: (805) 681-5285. 

Fourth of July Street Closures:

Expect significant traffic delays beginning at 6 p.m. on July Fourth. Police will be closing multiple access points to portions of the beachfront to vehicular traffic. Please plan accordingly if you are traveling to the areas listed below. Stearns Wharf will be closed to incoming vehicles starting at 3:30 p.m. and no vehicles will be allowed to exit the Wharf starting at 4:30 p.m. Road closures will be lifted approximately 1 hour after the professional fireworks have concluded.

Significant street closures include:

  • 6 PM: Cabrillo Blvd., closed from Calle Cesar Chavez to Harbor Way
  • 6 PM: Castillo St. at West Montecito St.
    • Vehicular traffic accessing the “Funk Zone” and the Natoma Avenue neighborhood will be limited.
  • 6PM: Garden St. and US 101. 
    • Any traffic exiting the 101 Freeway at Garden St. after 6:00pm will be diverted north, away from the beachfront area. 

When Outdoors Also Consider the Following:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing.
  • Try to limit sun exposure.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ and reapply every two hours.