From contributed reports
While legal fireworks and sparklers are a popular part of July 4th celebrations, in most areas of Virginia they could become a cause of wildfires this year.
Many areas of the state have experienced below-average rainfall, resulting in dry brush and grass.
“One spark is all it would take for a wildfire to start,” said Fred Turck, assistant director for wildfire prevention and education with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). “Fireworks that have finished burning are still extremely hot, and they can smolder in dry grass or leaves before a fire ignites.”
Turck recommends keeping a bucket of water, wet towel and a fully-charged garden hose nearby. Children and pets should also be kept a safe distance away from igniting and spent fireworks.
Many types of fireworks (including firecrackers, bottle rockets, skyrockets, torpedoes and other fireworks that explode, travel laterally, rise into the air, or fire projectiles into the air) are illegal in Virginia unless you are a licensed contractor. A good alternative to personal fireworks are the community displays. Check your local news source for information on times and locations, or go here.
Additional information on fire safety can be found on the VDOF website.
The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide service to citizens of the Commonwealth.
With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 144,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 billion annually in benefits to the state.