Was it us or did it seem like a particularly bombastic war zone in L.A. on the Fourth of July weekend?
The Los Angeles Fire Department tells us there were a whopping 55 tree fires on July 4 and 5 in the city. If video (on the next page) is any indication, many of those arboreal conflagrations, which can appear from a distance to look like matchsticks on fire, involved our beloved palm trees.
Reminded us a little of the L.A. riots. Why, Los Angeles, why?
Despite warnings from police and despite the pre-Fourth crackdown on illegal fireworks sales by the L.A. City Attorney's office, the holiday kicked off with a bang and continued to pop off until well into the morning hours.
The LAFD's Arson Investigation Section told us there were 93 fireworks-related incidents for the holiday weekend so far this year: That compares to 97 for last year but … the tally for 2014 is not yet complete, and won't be for days.
LAPD Officer Drake Madison told us it's unclear if things were worse this year. “A lot of times it can sound like more each year,” he said. “Some of them are people shooting their guns off.”
There's no such thing as legal fireworks in the city, he said. Nonetheless, cops were busy chasing down “shots fired” calls that were often just about firecrackers and other forms of pyrotechnics.
“It's one of the worst nights for radio calls,” Madison said. “They're all fireworks and shots fired. People who are calling often do not know the difference between gunshots and fireworks.”
Angelenos took to social media to post photos and video of palm tree fires that appear to have been related to the illicit fireworks.