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Angelinos hit the park for July 4 celebration

July 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Barbecue pits were fired up and music filled the air at Exposition Park on Monday afternoon as people waited for a big, fireworks-filled Independence Day celebration.

The summer heat was on their minds, too.

"I love the hot weather," Los Angeles resident Betty Gomez said. "Stay hydrated. We all drink a lot of water."

In Los Angeles County, 39 cities allow safe and sane fireworks. However, Capt. Mark Savage from L.A. County Fire says the illegal fireworks people set off pose a serious fire threat given our conditions.

Extra firefighting personnel were in place during the holiday weekend, with crews turning their attention to Monday's fireworks.

"The amount of fuel, the amount of grass that is out there due to the rains we had over the winter, that is certainly there," said Savage. "What we haven't had in awhile is 100 degree temperatures through the four days during the Fourth of July, which brings an additional component that we haven't had in a long time."

L.A. City Fire Capt. John Kitchens said his department was fully staffed for the Fourth of July, not only for fires, but also to respond to heat-related calls.

"Stay hydrated. Drink water, drink the sports drinks," Kitchens said. "When you're out in the sun, when you're out in the heat, make sure not to overexert yourself."

People gathered at Lake Balboa early too, before it got hot to find prime spots for their Fourth of July celebrations.

Those who arrived early got the best spots in the shade. With the holiday falling on a Monday this year, people said they turned it into a three-day weekend capped off with a picnic, barbecue or family reunion.

"It means family time, it means biking time, and most of all, it means fireworks," said Keven Steinberg of Encino.

The key for visitors in the valleys is to stay cool with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Monday.

"Celebrate Fourth of July, very nice," said Mary Dolmadjan of North Hollywood. "I'm very happy. God bless America."

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