PACIFICA -- Fireworks will be banned July Fourth from all but a small section of city beaches as part of a new rule intended to keep trash out of the sand and Pacific Ocean.

The City Council on Monday night unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that puts the restrictions into effect for this year's Independence Day.

"Safe and sane" fireworks, which generally don't fly or explode, will only be allowed on a several-hundred-foot-section of the roughly mile-long Linda Mar Beach. They will also be OK in the south parking lots at Linda Mar and Rockaway beaches as well as at residents' homes.

"Fireworks are not allowed at any other beach areas in Pacifica," police Capt. Dan Steidle said.

Pacifica was one of just 14 cities in the greater Bay Area that last year permitted "safe and sane" fireworks, though the tradition has remained controversial through the years. Despite complaints, Pacifica residents have twice voted, most recently in 1996, to keep fireworks.

The council adopted recommendations June 10 from a city task force created due to complaints about the fireworks debris left in the sand and water after the holiday.

While environmentalists had pushed for completely banning fireworks from city beaches, the community groups that rely on fireworks sales for funding opposed that move. According to city records, 15 groups took in a total of $100,900 in 2012 from fireworks sales.


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The so-called "safe and sane" fireworks will remain legal elsewhere in Pacifica. Possession of illegal fireworks carries a $1,000 fine, Steidle said.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.