JULY 1, 2022

High temperatures and lack of widespread significant rainfall are prompting new safety warnings for the upcoming July Fourth holiday. As drought conditions continue to build throughout Georgia, the Georgia Forestry Commission is reminding residents about the increasing risk of wildfire.

“We need everybody’s help in keeping our communities and our forestlands safe,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Frank Sorrells. “As you plan outdoor activities this summer, remember that any kind of spark or ember can be a hazard, especially when they’re near dry grasses and vegetation.”

While fireworks and the Fourth go together like hot dogs and mustard, special care must be exercised in any setting that’s not operated by professionals. If you plan to set them off yourself, be sure you know the local ordinances by contacting county or city officials. The local fire department is a good source of information. Recognize and know that fireworks start wildfires. Don’t ignite fireworks, or allow them to travel, over dry grass and vegetation, or into wooded forest areas. Follow all safe practices, both for your personal safety and to prevent injuries to people nearby.

It may not seem likely, but summer tools and supplies we use regularly can also become dangerous incendiary devices if not carefully handled. Sources of ignition that can spark a wildfire include outdoor grills, campfires, and even hot vehicle undercarriages and lawn equipment. Careful thought must be given to the location of grills, open cooking fires and campfires. They should be in areas free of dry grass and vegetation and well away from homes, buildings, and forested areas that could succumb to embers scattered by a simple stirring of the coals. It’s wise to keep water on hand to quell flare ups and spreading flames, along with a cell phone to call 9-1-1 if needed.

“Independence Day is a special holiday,” said Sorrells. “Carefully planned celebrations that include deliberate fire safety awareness will benefit us all.”

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