Don't want to spark one of these? Fire safety tips to follow on the 4th

File photo
File photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite some recent rain, drought conditions still linger across much of Northeast Florida, which means setting off fireworks could trigger could spark a fire if you're not careful.

Since January, 1,092 fires have burned approximately 58,382 acres throughout Florida.

State forestry officials and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried offered some advice to remember to avoid fire dangers on the Fourth of July.

“The potential for wildfire is always heightened when fire and sparks exist outdoors,” Fried said. “As we enjoy celebrating our freedom in this great nation on Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues and campfires, we need all Floridians to use fire responsibly and understand their role in keeping our families and friends safe.”

Always check local laws before you light off fireworks. Local fire and police departments, as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Office, can also provide guidance.

If choosing to celebrate with fireworks, grills or campfires, follow these safety tips:

  • Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris;
  • Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources;
  • Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land;
  • Always have a water source available;
  • Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas;
  • Never use homemade fireworks;
  • Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water;
  • Store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children;
  • Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is complete out before leaving it;
  • Report any fire immediately to 911.

“Despite recent rainfall, high temperatures and dry conditions are expected across parts of the state,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Changes in weather patterns and Florida’s unique, fire-prone vegetation have the potential to ignite a fire at any time. These factors require residents to be vigilant as they use fire.”

To access current wildfire conditions in Florida, including active wildfires and additional fire safety information, visit FloridaForestService.com.

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