Monday, June 30, 2008

Texas Forest Service Issues Warning On Use Of Fireworks In Rural Areas
By John Pape

With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, the Texas Forest Service is warning people to be cautious using fireworks in rural areas. Dry conditions across much of Texas can result in grass fires like the one that engulfed this car.
slideshow With most cities banning the discharge of fireworks, some people are going to rural areas to celebrate the Fourth of July.

That, however, may not be a good idea, according to the Texas Forest Service.

Despite recent rainfall, many rural areas continue to be extremely dry and there continues to be a high danger of wildfires. Even when caution is used, handling of fireworks can be dangerous, according to Tom Spencer, fire risk coordinator for the Texas Forest Service.

“It only takes a spark to start a wildfire,” Spencer said. “Fireworks, especially aerial fireworks, can be the source of that spark.”

Much of the state remains in drought and, as a result, the grasses have dried out and are easily ignited. Spencer recommended using fireworks well away from dry grass and other flammable vegetation. He recommended the following precautions be followed:

• Adhere to all county and city fireworks laws and restrictions.

• Use fireworks outdoors, away from dry grass and buildings.

• Follow label instructions on how to properly discharge fireworks.

• Only use fireworks with close adult supervision.

• Keep a bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby.

• Discard used fireworks; never try to relight them.

• Allow used fireworks to cool thoroughly before handling to avoid burn injuries.

The Texas Fire Service is urging people who want to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks to plan ahead and limit the use of fireworks to areas where accidental fire starts will not occur.

Better yet, make plans to attend a professional fireworks display.

“Everybody doing their part will make sure we all have a happy and safe Independence Day,” Spencer said.

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