Warm weather and family gatherings can make the Fourth of July a fun time with great memories. But before you celebrate, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking residents and visitors to make sure they understand the importance of fireworks and campfire safety.
“With folks filling state parks, campgrounds and backyards to celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s vital that precautions are taken prior to lighting campfires and setting off fireworks,” said Dan Laux, DNR fire prevention specialist. “You can have fun while celebrating with friends and family, even if you’re being safe and making sure your property and our natural resources are protected. The best way to avoid the risk of starting a wildfire this holiday weekend is to attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.”
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to an average of 19,700 fires caused by fireworks each year. For those planning to use fireworks, the DNR suggests keeping these safety tips in mind:
- Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt gold. Always place sparklers in a bucket of water when they have gone out; when thrown on the ground, they can cause grass fires.
- Point fireworks away from homes and keep them away from brush, grass and leaves.
- Chinese lanterns can stay airborne for 20 minutes and reach heights up to 1 mile high before coming down in unplanned locations. The open flame has the potential to start fires.
- Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.
- Laux said that in addition to fireworks safety, people should keep the following things in mind when enjoying their campfires:
- Use fire rings in nonflammable areas when possible.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Keep a water source and shovel nearby.
- Place roasting sticks in a bucket of water when not in use.
- Completely extinguish fires before turning in for the night. Douse with water, stir and douse again to make sure no embers are left.
“Fireworks and campfires are a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more knowing that your family and your property are safe,” Laux said. “Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”
For more fire prevention information and safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.