Keep Fire Danger in Mind When Setting Off July 4th Fireworks
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
BISMARCK, N.D. – With Independence Day celebrations also comes the heightened risk of fires. Officials are cautioning folks setting off fireworks to stay safe and also be careful not to start wildfires.
Robert Knuth, a training director with the North Dakota Firefighters' Association, says everyone should check the fire danger index for their area. While the risk is low across most of the state, Knuth says fire conditions could change by the Fourth of July.
"Do remember that the wind and the heat will dry out the fuel - the grass - pretty rapidly," he warns. "So even it were to rain today, we could be in moderate or even high come Wednesday."
Despite more favorable conditions this year, a devastating drought from last year still is affecting the state. The United States Drought Monitor says more than half of the state is abnormally dry, and some areas are even experiencing moderate to severe drought.
Some cities, including Fargo, prohibit fireworks within city limits. A fire danger rating map is available on the North Dakota Department of Emergency Resources' website.
Knuth says people should be prepared if they are going to set off fireworks.
"Just using some common sense and having water available, either a bucket of water to submerge misfired fireworks into is always a good thing," he says. "Or having a hose available in case something were to ignite the grass around your fireworks display."
National statistics show fireworks killed eight people across the U.S., injured nearly 13,000, and sparked more than 18,000 fires last year.
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