In a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five fires reported on Independence Day. In 2011, fireworks ignited an estimated 17,800 fires, many of which were outdoor grass fires, brush fires and other types of natural vegetation fires. These fires can spread quickly, especially in areas that are experiencing dry weather or drought. And, they can have major impacts: fires started by fireworks in 2011 resulted in an estimated 32 million dollars in property damage.
Viewer Tip: The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave them to the professionals – visit a public fireworks display in your community. If you are thinking about using fireworks, keep these tips in mind to prevent fires and enjoy a safe holiday:
- Check local laws and observe fireworks bans. Laws about fireworks use vary from state to state. With many parts of the United States experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions – and some battling wildfires – certain communities are implementing complete bans on fireworks. Always follow rules and instructions issued by your local officials.
- Light up safely. A sparkler burns at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, water boils at 212 degrees, wood burns at 575 degrees and glass melts at 900 degrees! Keep fireworks out of the hands of young children. Light fireworks one at a time and never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Never light fireworks near your home, dry leaves or grass, or other flammable materials.
- Douse them out. Keep a bucket of water nearby to douse the fireworks when you are done. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, too.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation.
(Sources: Hall Jr., John R. “Fireworks.” National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, June 2013, http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=2408&itemID=55435&URL=Research/Statistical%20reports/Major%20causes/; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “CPSC Special Study on Fireworks Incidents Finds Hundreds of Injuries a Day Surrounding July 4 Holiday Festivities.” http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2012/CPSC-Special-Study-on-Fireworks-Incidents-Finds-Hundreds-of-Injuries-a-Day-Surrounding-July-4-Holiday-Festivities/)