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With numerous recent fires reported in the area, Hollister and San Benito County public safety authorities are asking residents to be safe in their use of fireworks as the Fourth of July holiday approaches.

Hollister Fire Chief Bob Martin Del Campo said in a press release that there have been more than 14 “human act” or arson fires throughout the county in recent days. “This is a significant concern coupled with both Safe and Sane and illegal fireworks,” Del Campo wrote. “The Hollister Fire Department asks that you be cautious in your use of pyrotechnics.”

Del Campo’s June 19 press release lists a total of 92 fires reported in Hollister since January. These include eight intentional fires, 25 unintentional, 22 undetermined, 10 related to equipment failure and three “act of nature” blazes.

Also on June 19, Del Campo, Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso and San Benito County Sheriff Darren Thompson sent a joint statement about public safety during the summer—particularly in the weeks leading up to Independence Day on July 4.

“The chiefs would like to remind everyone of the dangers and penalties associated with celebratory firearm discharges and the use of illegal fireworks,” reads the joint statement. “Setting off fireworks, and shooting guns, (poses) a great risk for severe injury and death. As such, they have no place in our city or county.”

The statement warns residents that any “safe and sane” fireworks purchased legally in Hollister must remain within the city limits. Fire, police and sheriff’s authorities will increase their staffing during the Fourth of July celebratory period and focus on areas with more frequent incidents of gunshot and fireworks activity.

Residents can report suspicious fire activity and the use or possession of illegal fireworks by calling (831) 636-4325.

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