Dry weather before Independence Day creates concern fireworks could ignite fires

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Fireworks are an essential part of the Fourth of July, but there are worries the ground in Iowa could become just as explosive if the state’s drought continues.

Iowa State Fire Marshal Dan Wood says the dry weather has elevated Iowa’s risk for a fire. He said everyone who is planning to shoot off fireworks for Independence Day should be extra cautious of where they do so this year.

“With dry grass, dry crops, and longer vegetation, there is that chance of a fire,” Wood said. “I worry about the drought every day.”

Hardin County took the extra step of activating a burn ban because of the dry conditions. Some municipalities in the city are also considering cancelling their fireworks shows if the drought keeps going into Fourth of July weekend.

“Everything is dry, and it will burn that much faster,” said Hardin County Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Craighton. “Even the shingles on your roof or your siding, all it takes is an ash.”

Craighton expects the burn ban will continue through at least the next few weeks if the rain never comes.

“This is as dry as anyone around here has seen it in years,” Craighton said. “We’re getting just a few showers, and that is not going to make the burn ban go away.”

Wood said he has no problems with fireworks as a whole, as long as people use them responsibly.

“Try to be 300 feet away from buildings, have a water hose or a bucket nearby, and just try to be safe,” Wood said.

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