Drought and Fireworks Don't Mix


Caryville, Campbell County (WVLT) - It's a firefighter’s worst scenario, a drought, heading into the biggest time of the year for fireworks.

And we're almost a foot short of where we should be for rainfall entering the fourth of July holiday weekend.

Volunteer TV’s Jim Freeman spoke with some firefighters and firework vendors about their concerns.

They say this is the driest in recent memory going into this fourth, and they caution backyard shooters to play it safe.

Heading into the "extra dry" fourth, forestry officials and firefighters are preaching prevention.

"If people would be careful, prevention's worth a pound of cure,” says Nathan Waters, Assistant District Forester.

"This is the driest I've seen it that I can remember,” says Don Cross, owner of Cross Fireworks.

All the more reason for firefighters to have concern and for backyard shooters to be legal.

"And be aware of any county ordinances that you've got many counties in the area don't allow fireworks,” says Waters.

This holiday, when the fireworks go into the bag, so does one of these. The department of forestry is asking firework vendors to handout these safety tip fliers with every purchase. And that may be a first, just because of the drought.

"It's usually for open burning bans or burning stuff like that, but never anything for fireworks,” says Caryville Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker.

Just a tiny spark from a firework this small can ignite grass this dry instantly.

"In this area, brush fires are pretty tough,” admits Chief Hatmaker.

Now before you light-up the fireworks, fill-up the bucket. And after you've finished shooting.

"I'd say wet it down after you get through shooting it,” says Cross. “’Cause you could go to bed that night and they could start back up. If you didn't pour water on 'em. 'Cause I've seen that happen."

Now. There is one sure-fire way to guarantee that you won't torch your backyard.

"I would suggest just go to the local fireworks display this year, especially if you live where you've not gotten any rain,” says Waters.

Of the local counties we made contact with, none that allow the shooting of fireworks is yet to place a ban because of the drought.


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