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Forest Service warns about dangerous side of fireworks

RALEIGH — The N.C. Forest Service encourages people to celebrate Independence Day by viewing public fireworks displays rather than risk setting wildfires with their own fireworks.
“Careless use of Class C fireworks — such as sparklers, fountains, glow worms, smoke devices and trick noisemakers — causes many wildfires in the summer,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “And we all know that wildfires endanger peoples’ lives, destroy timber and property, and damage the environment.”
If people take the risk of using their own fireworks, here are some simple ways to help keep the holiday safe:
• Do not use fireworks such as ground spinners, firecrackers, round spinners, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, which are illegal in North Carolina.
• Do not use fireworks near woods or any combustible material.
• Make sure fireworks are always used with adult supervision.
• Follow the instructions provided with the fireworks.
• Do not use under the influence of alcohol.
• Always use in a large, open, preferably paved, area or near a body of water.
• Have a rake or shovel as well as a bucket or two of water on hand.
• Monitor the area for several hours after use.
• Take precautions with campfires, grills
As more homes are built in North Carolina’s wooded areas, officials with the N.C. Forest Service stress the need to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires in neighborhoods. In addition to taking measures to use fireworks safely, campfires or grills should never be left unattended and should never be started with gasoline.
When disposing of ashes, it is important to never put them in a paper bag or other flammable container. Instead, place them in an outside metal container or bury them in mineral soil in your garden. If you live in an area with organic soils, however, keep in mind that peat can catch fire. Never store ashes in your garage, on your deck or in a wooded area. Double-check the ashes and coals before throwing them away to make sure they won’t start a fire.
People with questions should contact Rowan County Ranger David Poole at 704-216-8993 or 704-216-8994 or Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at 919-857-4828. For more fire safety information, visit www.ncfirewise.org or http://ncforestservice.gov.

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