AmericaFest is ready to explode at the Rose Bowl this July 4, and the City of Pasadena is spraying the flame retardant Phos-Chek to ensure the show remains inside and above the stadium, and not outside on the nearby hills.
According to City of Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian, eight tons of the stuff will be sprayed over 54 acres in the Arroyo Seco area. The operation was to begin July 2 at 10 a.m and continue throughout the day.
“Last year we experienced the worst wildland fires in California history,” said Derderian. “So every year we take it seriously, but more so this year, because anything with a potential to spark a fire is very serious.”
Fireworks that have not been disposed of properly and are left in vegetation spark to life, noted Derderian.
The Phos-Chek used by the City is not the blue and orange type often seen being applied in television coverage of wildfires, rather it is of a clear variety. It does not put fires out completely, but prevents them from spreading.
“The main ingredients are phosphates and fertilizer,” said Derderian, “so it actually helps revegetate trees and is not harmful to pets. We’re very cognizant of keeping it off people’s lawns. We’re just strictly looking at the vegetation in the Linda Vista and Arroyo areas.
Derderian discussed the ordinance passed by the City Council last year facilitating the prosecution and fining of fireworks offenders, and which put landlords on the hook for explosions set off by their tenants.
The reason for the landlord provision, Derderian explained, is that, in the past, when enforcement arrives on the scene “everybody kind of scatters and nobody knows anything.”
If the City can prove the offense took place on someone’s property, that someone is cited and fined.
The penalty can become significant if fireworks are found on a property, Derderian informed.
“Fireworks are about $100 a pound to dispose of through the Fire Department process,” she said. “So if we find fireworks on a property, landlords can be held responsible and it’s very expensive.”
Annually, the fireworks outside the Rose Bowl can be larger than those being exploded inside. That is unfortunate said Derderian.
“We really want to encourage people, go to the Rose Bowl and see the fireworks show from inside,” she concluded. “There’s entertainment all afternoon, it’s a nominal fee, and leave it to the professionals,” she concluded.