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Fourth of July - Fireworks Safety

Helpful Hints to Preventing Wildfires

Contact: John S. Robison, State Fire Marshal

(334) 241-4166

6/23/2000

In cooperation with State Forester Timothy C. Boyce and the Alabama Forestry Commission, the State Fire Marshals Office is posting the following information released by the Forestry Commission this morning-

Alabama Forestry Commission

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2000

For More Information Contact:
Kim Gilliland
334-240-9355
www.forestry.state.al.us

Forestry Commission, Fire Marshal Urge Caution with Fireworks

As dry weather conditions continue to plague the state, the Alabama Forestry Commission and the State Fire Marshal are urging citizens to take extra precautions during their Fourth of July celebration. It may only take a spark to ignite the dry leaves, twigs and pine straw on the forest floor. “We have a potential for increased forest fires during the holiday because of the drought we’ve been in,” said State Forester Timothy C. Boyce. “The recent rainfalls weren’t enough to bring us out of the drought situation.”

State Fire Marshal John S. Robison agrees. “Just a little extra caution could prevent a catastrophe,” he said. “Many areas, especially in south Alabama, are still extremely vulnerable to wildfires. We want people to enjoy a safe Fourth of July holiday.”

Residents can take several precautions to prevent starting a wildfire from fireworks:

  • Shoot fireworks in a cleared area where there is little grass or weeds, preferably on bare dirt or over water.

  • Have a water hose available to wet down areas. Douse used fireworks in a bucket of water. If you’re away from a water source, have a shovel or rake available to smother a fire with dirt.

  • If smoking fireworks debris is discovered, soak it in water or bury it in dirt.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch where fireworks are landing. You have less control over fireworks such as rockets than over those that don’t travel away from the immediate area.

  • Stay in the area an extra half hour to make sure no fires were ignited. If a fire that’s beyond your control does get started, call 911 and report it immediately.

“These are just common sense things we’re asking people to do,” Boyce said. “It’s their life and property that we want to protect.”