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Celebrate the Fourth with light, but don’t light a wildfire

Boom! Sparkle! Pop! Flash! Glittering fireworks lighting up the night sky are a signature of the Independence Day holiday. And, though beautiful, if handled without care, they have the potential to ignite dangerous wildfires.

Fireworks cause nearly 18,500 fires a year in the U.S., burning structures and injuring people.

Organizations like the National Safety Council recommend leaving fireworks in the hands of experts.

No matter who is using fireworks, some simple swaps can help to keep the celebration fun and reduce risk.

For example, sparklers are often given to young children, but can burn up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Glow sticks, bubbles, and ribbon dancers are safer alternatives.

“If fireworks are part of your celebration, take precautions to prevent wildfires and keep friends and family safe from accidents,” said DNR fire prevention specialist Paul Rogers. “Keeping an eye on the weather is important, too. Dry days with high winds are the riskiest.”

Follow these tips to reduce risks with at-home fireworks:

∫ Toss hand-held fireworks such as sparklers into a bucket of water when finished.

∫ Keep a water source ready to spray embers from fireworks. Spray the entire area where you’ve been using fireworks with water when done.

∫ Don’t try to re-ignite fireworks that won’t go off.

∫ Don’t launch fireworks into forests or fields. Dry grass or leaves could ignite.

∫ Always supervise kids and keep fireworks away from your face and eyes.

∫ Sky lanterns, also popular on holidays, can start wildfires, too. The wires they leave behind can also entangle wildlife.

Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and all types of sky lanterns are prohibited in state parks. (An extra safety reminder: Though many people like to swing by state parks just to catch nearby evening fireworks displays, this year, the DNR will close state park day-use areas at 10 p.m. to help reduce crowds.)

Planning to get some yard work done over the long weekend?

Check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see if conditions are okay to burn brush and yard waste.

Remember to practice effective social distancing of at least 6 feet from people who don’t live in your household.

Learn more about fire prevention and safety at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.

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