Fulton’s Fourth of July fireworks display has been postponed due to dry weather conditions, but Union City’s annual display is still scheduled with precautions in place.
Due to the drought-like weather conditions, low humidity and low fuel moisture the last few weeks, the City of Fulton’s fire department will not be able to sign off on the city’s community fireworks display, according to a fireworks notice from the Fulton Fire Department.
The display, staged in Fulton’s downtown area, has been postponed until a later date.
Fulton fire officials are also cautioning that shooting fireworks in the current dry weather conditions poses an extremely dangerous situation for the public.
The judge/executive of Fulton County, Ky., recently issued a burn ban for the entire county. As a result, Fulton fire officials are asking the public not use fireworks during this volatile time. With the heat and low humidity, the moisture content in any wood or grass is extremely low and fires are started very easily and will spread quickly.
Union City Fire Chief Kelly Edmison said Union City’s annual community fireworks display is slated to proceed as scheduled on the Fourth of July, but the fire department will be thoroughly wetting down the area beforehand and will have a fire crew on the scene when they are discharged.
The display will begin at dusk, or around 9 p.m., Wednesday at Graham Park in east Union City.
Edmison has serious concerns, though, about the public shooting off any fireworks during the extremely dry weather conditions. It is illegal to use or sell fireworks in the city limits of Union City at any time and violators are subject to a police citation.
“I’m really worried about out in the county,” he said.
Edmison said despite fireworks being illegal in Union City, there are frequently people who illegally shoot off fireworks regardless of the law and he has concerns about yards or structures catching fire. He said he hopes people will refrain this year.
“Everything is very, very tender. Please, exercise caution,” he added.
Fire safety urged
Due to the dry conditions, state officials are also urging citizens to take fire precautions for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry is asking the public to refrain from debris burning until significant precipitation is received and to avoid other activities that could cause fire.
“Most areas of the state are experiencing very hot and dry conditions with low humidity,” State Forester Steven Scott said. “While permits are not currently required for open, outdoor burning, as a precaution we’re urging citizens to avoid debris burning until conditions improve.”
Burning permits are required by the state Division of Forestry only during official fire season, Oct. 15 through May 15. However, the number of fires statewide has increased since mid-June due to the unusually hot, dry conditions.
Forestry officials said that in addition to escaped debris fires, major causes include sparks from field equipment and vehicles, discarded cigarettes, lightning, campfires, arson and fireworks. Citizens can help support their local fire departments by checking for and following local burn restrictions and quickly reporting any wildfire.
Tennessee State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak encourages Tennesseans to have a fire-safe Fourth of July by leaving the fireworks to the professionals.
“To avoid the risk of injury and property damage associated with consumer fireworks, join other community members in attending a public display put on by trained and licensed professionals,” she said.
Other fire prevention tips offered by state forestry officials include:
• Taking precautions when using farm and other equipment (bush hogs, balers, lawn mowers, ATVs, etc.) or anything with an exhaust system, including parked cars, that could create a spark near dry vegetation.
• Checking first for local burn and firework ordinances. Citizens are encouraged to avoid shooting fireworks in dry areas and attend public fireworks displays instead.
• Reporting fire activity immediately to your local fire department.
• Delaying debris burning until significant precipitation is received. Even when conditions are safe, notify your fire department and neighbors, don’t burn on windy days, establish a wide control line down to mineral soil, keep fire containment equipment and water on hand, and stay with the fire until it is completely out.
Published in The Messenger 6.28.12