BOTHELL, Wash. – This fire season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging caution with any Fourth of July celebrations that include fireworks, campfires, or grilling and is encouraging residents to be mindful of rising temperatures heading into the summer season.
While fireworks and outdoor gatherings go hand-in-hand with the holiday and summer months, they also intensify wildfire danger and may put lives at risk.
Over 1.5 million acres have already burned in the state of Alaska, and over 52 percent of the state of Oregon is facing severe drought conditions.
Outdoor activities (e.g. driving on high grass, camping, grilling) heighten the threat of human-caused wildfires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 19,500 fires reported to local fire departments in the U.S. in 2018 were started by fireworks with more than one-quarter of the fires started by fireworks in 2014-18 reported on the Fourth of July.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a display put on by professionals or view a virtual show. Be sure to heed local regulations for firework use.
“With the excitement of the holiday and the long-anticipated arrival of summer weather, it’s easy to forget that certain outdoor activities can pose a risk for wildfires and for our own health and safety,” said FEMA Region 10 Administrator Willie G. Nunn. “Between following a few safety tips and taking part in local, professionally-staged fireworks displays and alternative activities, there are countless ways that we can safely enjoy the Fourth of July and the summer season.”
As temperatures across the region begin to climb, FEMA encourages everyone to learn the signs of heat-related illness and practice extra caution when outdoors and when temperatures reach over 90 degrees:
Identify places in your community where you can go to stay cool or check with local authorities for cooling centers near you, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, drink plenty of fluids, and be sure to check on family members, seniors, and neighbors.
FEMA wishes you a safe and happy holiday weekend and summer season.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.