Source: Texas A&M Forest Service
As Texans make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with picnics, parades, grilling a favorite dish or using fireworks, Texas A&M Forest Service encourages everyone to be careful with outdoor activities that may cause a spark.
Approximately 90 percent of wildfires are caused by humans and their activities, and Independence Day is one of the top days for reported wildfires. Recent rains have reduced some of the potential for wildfires across much of the state, but it is still important to be careful when it comes to wildfire prevention.
“Though the rains have helped decrease wildfire potential, we urge everyone to be cautious with fireworks and outdoor activities this holiday,” said Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service Mitigation and Prevention department head. “Dry conditions and abundance of grass, brush and other ground cover can quickly turn an unattended spark into a wildfire.”
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show conducted by professionals. If you are going to set off your own fireworks, please follow these safety tips:
- Before you celebrate, always check with local government officials to ensure fireworks and outdoor burning are allowed in your county. Be sure to comply with all restrictions.
- Read and follow all warnings and instruction labels on fireworks.
- Use fireworks only under close adult supervision and in safe areas away from structures, dry grass and brush.
- Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
To help prevent wildfires while grilling outdoors, please follow these safety tips:
- Place your grill away from structures and vegetation that can ignite.
- Look for embers that may cause fires and be aware of wind changes that may cause embers to blow further out or in a different direction.
- Be sure to extinguish hot coals.
- If using a gas grill, check for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose with a brush or spray bottle then turn the propane tank on. Bubbles will form around the hose if there is a gas leak. If the leak does not stop after checking connections, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately.
To find additional resources, visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Wildfire Education & Prevention Facebook page @wildfireeducation.prevention, or download a fireworks safety flyer at http://ow.ly/nT7j30kI7RN.
Note: Burn bans and fireworks restrictions are determined by your county government. Texas A&M Forest Service does not take a position on the use of fireworks, nor does the agency determine, set or lift restrictions.