February 10, 2016

Experts warn of fire hazards from fireworks

Independence Day is just over a week away; officials warn of fire dangers.

Experts want the public to be cognizant of the fire dangers involved on — and leading up to — the Fourth of July, especially if you’re in an area with dry conditions. “There’s just nothing to be gained by lighting things and letting them drop on the ground when the grass is so dry.”

Lori Wirth is with the City of Madison Fire Department. She prefers people let the professionals do the work, while the public just sits back and safely enjoys the show.

Drought conditions are unusual for this time of year in many parts of the state. “We have seen things kind of browning up over the last several weeks with no rain, and what that means is it’s very easy for things to ignite when a spark hits or a sparkler. Just the other night we had an incident locally where somebody had fired off a Roman candle and the result was a grass fire.”

Wirth says consumer fireworks are not standardized; they are not reliable; and one has no way of controlling where that firework will land. At that point, it could land on something combustible and easily start a fire. Also, many fireworks might be against local ordinances. Violators in the Capital City could get up to a $1,000 fine plus court costs.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:30

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