We've been fortunate to have recent rains, but as summer progresses, the chance of wildfires increases. With the Fourth of July coming up, the Collin County Government has released information on how to safely celebrate the holiday without sacrificing fun or safety.
From Collin County Government:
"Local and state Fire officials are asking folks to be cautious when shooting off fireworks or burning campfires for Fourth of July celebrations as the weather heats up and fields dry out.
Collin County Fire Marshal Michael Smith says the county may have had a wet spring, but local firefighters are still fighting grass fires almost every day.
“The slightest cause and origin have sparked fires lately,” Smith says. “From a combine harvester to lawn mowers to vehicle exhaust and illegal burning. The conditions for wildfires are getting dangerous out there, so we’re asking all residents in Collin County to exercise caution in the coming weeks, including Independence Day events.”
Justice Jones of the Texas Forest Service says that while drought conditions have improved for much of the state, wildfire potential still exists, especially in areas where consecutive days of hot temperatures have dried out the vegetation. Collin County is already experiencing consecutive 100-degree highs.
“We don’t want to discourage anyone from enjoying the holiday; we just want to remind people that Texas is still prone to wildfire danger,” Jones said.
Most cities here have ordinances prohibiting the sale, possession and discharge of fireworks within their city limits. Some larger cities can enforce certain ordinances within their extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and may include the possession and discharge of fireworks. If you reside within the ETJ of a city in Collin County, pleasecheck with that city prior to discharging fireworks.
Here are some other items:
- Possession and or discharge of fireworks on U.S. Corps of Engineer Property is illegal. This includes most parks and property adjoining Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard.
- It is also illegal to shoot or use fireworks on County property, rights of ways, streets and parks.
- Always seek permission from landowners prior to discharging fireworks on private property. If you are on someone’s property using fireworks, you have to have written permission to do so.
About 90 percent of wildfires in Texas are human-caused, which means they can be prevented. As residents enjoy building a campfire, shooting off celebratory fireworks in approved areas or cooking on the grill, they’re asked to take safety precautions to ensure their homes and families are protected.
For more information on the use of fireworks in unincorporated Collin County, please check our Fire Marshal’s page at http://www.co.collin.tx.us/fire_marshal/fireworks/fireworks_legal.jsp. Meanwhile, the Forest Service offers this quick list of safety precautions to help avert a wildfire:
- Check for and obey burn bans and fireworks restrictions.
- If outdoor burning is allowed, create a firebreak (down to bare dirt) around an outdoor fire before igniting the materials to be burned.
- Keep water nearby just in case a fire starts. It doesn’t take much of a spark or burning ember to ignite dry, fine-textured fuels like grass and weeds.
- Read and follow label instructions on how to properly discharge fireworks.
- Only use fireworks with close adult supervision.
- Use fireworks only in areas clear of dead, dry grass and weeds.
- Avoid using fireworks, particularly aerial varieties, around buildings. Winds can carry hot fireworks onto roofs where leaves or other flammable debris may have accumulated."