Dry Weather, Wildfire Risk Prompts Fireworks Cancellation Across the Country

July 3, 2018

Fire danger across much of the country has prompted cancellation of July 4 fireworks displays.

In northern Arizona, Prescott’s fire chief says he’s canceling the town’s Fourth of July fireworks show as much of the Southwest deals with extreme to exceptional drought conditions. Fire Chief Dennis Light says it’s in the best interest of public safety to cancel the Prescott show because of dry conditions. He says the event organizer agrees with the decision. Prescott Recreation Services Director Joe Baynes says the town plans to instead use the fireworks during its Octoberfest Event, set for September 22.

A New Mexico county has followed suit. A Fourth of July fireworks show in Los Alamos County has been canceled due to dry conditions and extreme fire danger as crews battle blazes elsewhere around New Mexico.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports that County Fire Chief Troy Hughes broke the news recently to the Kiwanis Club, which puts on the show in the community of White Rock. Hughes said the forecast provides no indication that the area will receive any significant rainfall soon.

Much of the northern half of New Mexico is dealing with extreme to exceptional drought conditions.

The Fourth of July event at Overland Park draws thousands of people from the area and is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Kiwanis Club. The club said the fireworks will be stored and used next year.

The Midwest, too, is also suffering from excessive heat.

It’s likely going to be too hot for fireworks, at least for a few Ohio communities. Organizers of Fourth of July celebrations in Springfield Township and Swanton, both near Toledo, have canceled fireworks shows because of extreme heat.

Excessive heat warnings were also in effect in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

On average each year, fireworks start 18,500 fires, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires, reports the National Fire Protection Association. Engaging in fire safety, taking time to prevent and reduce damage and becoming financially prepared by conducting an insurance checkup are critical this time of year.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America issued a statement urging residents, particularly those in wildfire-prone states, to be extra cautious with the use of fireworks.

“All that it takes is one wind-blown ember from a campfire or firework to ignite a blaze,” said Chris Hackett, senior director of personal lines policy for PCI. “With 53 active wildfires charring thousands of acres of land in nine states, it is critical that people follow state and federal fireworks laws and take extra precautions to avoid causing preventable fires.”

The Associated Press and the PCI contributed to this article.

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