OAKLAND (KPIX) — The Fourth of July holiday weekend is typically a time for family gatherings and fireworks but, with civic celebrations canceled, there’s concern over illegal fireworks and the dangers they pose.

At Lake Merritt in Oakland, neighbors say it’s sounded like July 4 since March. Illegal fireworks have been going off almost every night and the Oakland fire department is getting ready for what’s expected to be a very busy weekend.

Many residents say they won’t miss the canceled fireworks show this year.

“It’s fine because there are so many illegal fireworks all over,” said Mark Wagner, an Oakland resident. “We live over here and we get a whole display every night.”

“It’s just too much — they go until 3 a.m.,” said Maureen Ibiri. “It’s fire season! It’s just irresponsibility and I’m not a fan of it.”

On Friday night, officers with the Oakland police department were responding to calls of illegal fireworks. Oakland Fire will deploy five additional crews over the weekend, three of them will be patroling the Lake Merritt area.

“We expect to see many many fires tomorrow — we’ve had 15 since Monday,” said Robert Lipp, assistant fire chief of the Oakland fire department.

A small brush fire broke out Friday night at Mountain Boulevard and Fontaine Court near the location of a fire on Sunday that was caused by fireworks.

Oakland police have also been busy, a 110-pound haul of high-grade illegal fireworks was confiscated near International Boulevard on Friday.

In an effort to get the pyrotechnics off the streets, Oakland Fire has placed buckets throughout the city to collect fireworks. All in an effort to keep everyone safe and sane this Fourth of July.

Additional fire crews will be on patrol starting at 8 a.m. Saturday and continuing through the weekend.

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