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Keep Independence Day celebrations safe with these fire-safety tips

N.C. Forest ServiceRALEIGH – Officials with the N.C. Forest Service encourage people to celebrate Independence Day by viewing public fireworks displays rather than risk starting fires with their own fireworks.

“The careless use of sparklers, fountains, glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers and other Class C fireworks can cause wildfires,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Each year, wildfires in North Carolina endanger people, destroy millions of dollars’ worth of timber and property, and damage the environment.”

If people use their own fireworks, here are some safety tips:

  • Don’t 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 fireworks while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Always use in a large, open and, preferably, paved area or near a body of water.
  • Have a rake or shovel and a bucket or two of water on hand.
  • Monitor the area for several hours after use.

With more homes being built in wooded areas, it’s important to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires in residential areas, said State Forester David Lane. “In addition to taking measures to use fireworks safely, campfires or grills should never be left unattended and should never be started with gasoline,” Lane said.

Ashes should be doused in water and stirred. Repeat this process to ensure the ashes are cold. Never put ashes in a paper bag or other flammable container, but instead place them in an outside metal container or bury them in mineral soil in a garden. Never store ashes in a garage, on a deck or in a wooded area. Double-check ashes and coals before throwing them away to make sure they won’t start a fire.

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