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As Texans make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with picnics, grilling, camping and fireworks, Texas A&M Forest Service asks everyone to be careful with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark.
Approximately 90% of wildfires are caused by humans and their activities, and Independence Day is one of the top days for reported wildfires. With current drought conditions across most of the state, the public is encouraged to help protect Texans by preventing wildfires.
“Even though we will see temporary relief from the high temperatures, Texas is still in a drought and may have conditions that support wildfires as we head into the July 4th holiday,” said Bruce Woods, mitigation and prevention department head. “We encourage everyone to be cautious with fireworks and any outdoor activity that may cause a spark this weekend.”
Gulf moisture and a reprieve from triple digit temperatures will reduce the potential for significant wildfires that may impact communities. However, there is still a chance that wildfire ignitions may occur, and state and local fire officials advise everyone to be careful with activities outdoors.
“Take caution with your celebrations while you grill and enjoy fireworks with your family and friends,” said Karen Stafford, prevention program coordinator. “Remember to do your part, and don’t let a wildfire start.”
Safely enjoy fireworks
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show conducted by professionals. If you are going to set off your own fireworks, follow these safety tips:
- Before you celebrate, always check with local government officials for any burn bans or other restrictions. 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, follow these additional tips:
- Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
- Ensure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle—they throw sparks.
- Avoid placing your grill near flammable vegetation or materials, never leave your grill unattended, and ensure coals are completely extinguished when you are done.
Burn bans and fireworks restrictions are determined by 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.