Keep your Independence Day celebration safe with these fire safety tips
RALEIGH – Officials with the N.C. Forest Service encourage people to celebrate Independence Day by viewing public fireworks displays rather than risk starting fires by setting off their own fireworks.
“Many wildfires that occur during this time of the year start due to the careless use of Class C fireworks such as sparklers, fountains, glow worms, smoke devices and trick noisemakers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “With many free fireworks shows planned across the state, there are a lot of options for enjoying the July 4th holiday that reduce the risk to our forestlands and personal property.”
If using your own fireworks, here are some safety tips:
- Don’t use fireworks such as ground spinners, firecrackers, round spinners, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, which are not legal in North Carolina.
- Do not use fireworks near woods or any combustible material.
- Make sure fireworks are always used with adult supervision.
- Follow the instructions provided with the fireworks.
- Do not use under the influence of alcohol.
- Always use in a large, open, and preferably, paved area or near a body of water.
- Have a rake or shovel and a bucket or two of water on hand.
- Monitor the area for several hours after use.
Exercising care in residential areas in wooded locations is also important, said State Forester David Lane.
“In addition to taking measures to use fireworks safely, campfires or grills should never be left unattended and should never be started with gasoline,” Lane said.
It is also important when disposing of ashes to never put them in a paper bag or other flammable container, but to instead place them in an outside metal container or bury them in mineral soil in your garden. If you live in an area with organic soils, however, keep in mind that peat can catch fire, Lane said. Never store ashes in your garage, on your deck or in a wooded area. Double-check ashes and coals before throwing them away to make sure they won’t start a fire.
For more information on fire safety, contact your county ranger or Brian Haines, NCFS public information officer, at 919-857-4828, or go to www.ncfirewise.org or http://ncforestservice.gov.