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County forester urges caution with fireworks

Published 12:21pm Monday, July 1, 2013

Conditions have improved from last year as far as grass and woodland fires originating from firework usage is concerned, according Morgan County forester Robert Maddox, but that’s not to say a fire cannot happen if safety precautions are ignored.

“This time last year we were in a drought,” Maddox said. “The ground was dry and cracking, the humidity was low and ground cover was dry. A spark from a firecracker was all that was needed to start a fire.

“Record rainfall last winter turned things around,” he pointed out. “Plus, we’re still getting some rain, and high humidity is creating heavy dews overnight. This lessens the chance of a fire occurring from the shooting of fireworks; however, it’s important to remember that anytime you shoot fireworks around a combustible substance the risk of a fire is high.

“I’d recommend if you shoot fireworks this Fourth of July choose a paved parking lot or a field with short grass and stubble and keep a bucket of water or a water hose nearby. Use common sense, and if a fire should occur, be prepared to douse it before it spreads.”

Even though Hartselle prohibits the shooting of fireworks, they are sold at unincorporated locations just outside the city.

“My advice to residents who want to have a fireworks display is to find a safe location outside of the city,” said Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett. “It has never been a big problem here, but we do get a few complaints, usually on the Fourth of July. When that happens our officers respond and take the appropriate action.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 60 percent of all fireworks injuries occur on or around July 4. Parents are urged to keep a close eye on children who are using them.

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