Fireworks spark several small fires in Sonoma County


Fireworks appeared to have caused several small fires in Petaluma and Rohnert Park Tuesday night, causing minimal damage but reinforcing concerns regarding the potential for problems from holiday pyrotechnics.

Throughout Sonoma County, fire officials early Wednesday reported no major Fourth of July incidents from fireworks — legal or illegal.

Petaluma firefighters Tuesday night responded to four fires in garbage cans and dumpsters, where it appeared people had disposed of fireworks which then combusted the contents, said Battalion Chief Jeff Schach. At least some of the cans were located at city parks where people disposed of fireworks without extinguishing the still‑hot remnants.

Also, aerial fireworks — always illegal outside of a sanctioned show — are suspected of starting a landscaping fire Tuesday next to a commercial building on Cypress Drive near South McDowell Boulevard, Schach said. That fire was stopped before it reached the nearby building.

Fire officials suspect an aerial firework fired from somewhere in the same southern Petaluma area started a small vegetation fire in a dry field near the Shollenberger Park, he said.

“Someone in the south end of town is lighting stuff off, the wind carried it southeast,” Schach said. “It proved the point about those aerial fireworks and why they are illegal.”

Rohnert Park fire responded to multiple dumpster fires, including one in a 30‑yard debris box that took an hour to extinguish because of the dense amount of combustibles inside, said Mike Bates, Rohnert Park fire commander.

Rohnert Park’s fires also appeared to have been caused by firework remnants.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or