Practice caution this Independence Day - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Practice caution this Independence Day

The city of Albany is ready to celebrate the 4th of July, as always, with spectacular fireworks.

"All I can say is if John Adams could see us this weekend, he'd be very happy with what we got going on in Albany," said Albany Recreation and Parks Marketing Coordinator Kristin Caso.

But when it comes to celebrating at home, there are added risks this year because of the drought.

Fire Chief James Carswell says even a tiny spark from a sparkler could set a field ablaze.

"A sparkler burns at over 1,000 degrees. It's more than enough to ignite grass especially if it's dry and once it's ignited it spreads," said Carswell.

Chief Carswell even suggests forgoing fireworks because of the dry conditions, but if you do light fireworks, do it with extreme caution.

When using fireworks, officials say always stand at a safe distance. Douse the fireworks with water after you think they've burned out and parents should never let children light fireworks unsupervised.

"If you're going to use legal fireworks in Georgia, we ask there to be adult supervision present the entire time and there should be a water source. Whether it's a bucket of water or a garden hose, there should be some mean of water to amerce the device afterwards," said Carswell.

Chief Carswell says the people who start fires will be held accountable, even if it's an accident.

"If you start a fire, you are responsible for the damages of that fire. If you burn your neighbors barn down it's your responsibility to pay for it," said Carswell.

Those who choose to shoot illegal fireworks better watch their back because authorities will be out in higher numbers than usual.

"If we find out who's doing it we're going to press charges especially this year. It's too unsafe to set off fireworks as dry as it is," said Carswell.

Chief Carswell wants Albany to practice caution, especially in this dry holiday season.

Not all fireworks are legal in Georgia. Only the ones that stay on the ground and shoot fountain displays are legal. The type that rockets in the air is outlawed.

According to the national fire protection Association, Independence Day has far more U.S. fires reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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