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Riverbank Skies Light Up With Celebratory, Illegal Fireworks
Fireworks, both legal and illegal, were visible in the night sky on Monday, July 4, no matter which direction you looked in Riverbank. Here, a burst well above rooftop level is exploded, even before it was completely dark, but was the first of many from this location, appearing to come from the northeast end of Modesto. Ric McGinnis/The News

The partly cloudy skies above and around Riverbank were lit with celebratory fireworks on Monday, July 4, but many were very obviously not the safe and sane variety.

Allowed in many Stanislaus County cities, the Safe and Sane fireworks are the kind that the various community groups have been selling during the past week, certified as such by the State Fire Marshal. They pop and crackle and otherwise exude bright, sparkly light, but do not leave the ground.

On Monday night, however, it seemed like no matter which direction you looked, one could see fireworks sailing through the air. Many were from neighboring parts of Modesto, or the county, but some were also set off right here in town.

Generally, the illegal fireworks are noisier, bigger, brighter ... and they sail high up into the air. That’s the unlawful, and unsafe, part. There is always high danger of embers getting carried off in the breeze and starting a fire.

Riverbank Police Services officials reported several incidents of illegal fireworks, with a special team out to address those issues along with fines to be assessed for those found to have used the banned fireworks.

Though fireworks that leave the ground create fire hazards and are illegal in the State of California, many were evident in the night skies surrounding Riverbank on Monday, July 4. No matter which way you looked, the colored bursts could be seen, above roof- and tree-top level. Ric McGinnis/The News