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Extreme drought conditions in Missouri. National Weather Service

Ongoing drought makes fireworks safety extra important

More than 93 percent of Missouri is facing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. State Fire Marshal Tim Bean urges extra caution when celebrating Independence Day with fireworks under these conditions.

“Public fireworks displays offer the best sights and are the safest, and this year the fire risk posed by fireworks has increased because of drought conditions in much of Missouri,” he told television station KY3 in Springfield. “The risk that sparks from fireworks could lead to grass and natural cover fires is elevated this year. These fires can spread rapidly and pose risks to structures as well. We urge everyone to consider local conditions and use extreme caution if they choose to use consumer fireworks.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office offered the following tips and best practices to reduce the risk of a dangerous mishap:

  • Confirm that fireworks are legal where you live and purchase only from licensed retailers.
  • Use fireworks only in a large open space that is clear of flammable materials. Do not light fireworks in areas where a spark could ignite dry grass, leaves or other flammable materials.
  • Always have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
  • Always keep young children away from fireworks. I teens are permitted to handle fireworks, they should be closely supervised by an adult
  • Always wear eye protection.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, and never try to relight fireworks that have malfunctioned.
  • Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
  • Never shoot off fireworks from a glass jar or container.
  • Never use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
  • Never store fireworks from season to season.

The marshal’s office said that more than three-fourths of injuries caused by fireworks happen within the three-week period surrounding Independence Day. During that period in 2022, 252 people with fireworks-related injuries went to emergency rooms or were admitted to a hospital.

–Dwight Widaman  | Metro Voice

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