Hot and dry make for dangerous Fourth

July 3, 2009 4:42:26 PM PDT
There's a warning to be very careful this Fourth of July weekend. Our hot, dry weather is making for dangerous conditions that are getting worse. [LEAVE IT TO THE PROS: Fireworks displays around town]

The record heat combined with the lack of rain has the fire marshal's office concerned about the fire danger that comes along with fireworks.

When the weather is this dry, rain is the best thing that could happen to fireworks. It may seem ridiculous, but when the drought index reaches such dangerous levels, even the pros hope for relief.

Shannon Brinkley owns Texas Outlaw Fireworks and is the vice president of the state's Fireworks Association.

"Use extreme caution and have water or a fire extinguisher available just in case they're needed," he said.

He almost sounds like the fire marshal's office.

"These conditions are extremely dangerous," Laurie Christensen with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "Go to the public displays. Take your family. We want you to have a good time. We want you to enjoy the freedoms we are celebrating on July Fourth, but be safe."

Safety may account for why some are slow to buy fireworks this year, but Brinkley thinks there are other factors, too.

"It's just so doggone hot outside, plus it's dry, and also the economy," he said. "Fireworks are not illegal, though. Fireworks are not illegal. They are legal in Harris County."

"We're planning on enjoying a pretty good Fourth of July," said fireworks customer Paul Holland.

Holland and his family buy fireworks every year.

"Hopefully everything will go well and the weather will cooperate," he said.

To cut down on risk and trash, you can use a display shooting box. It can help prevent a stray firework from catching grass on fire, which ultimately is something everyone wants to avoid.

"One of our main concerns is that if there is a fire, how fast it will grow," said Christenson.

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