RFD offers fireworks safety tips as drought worsens

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Fire Department (RFD) encourages the public to practice fireworks safety this Fourth of July as drought conditions worsen across the area.

Three months ago, 41% of Minnesota was considered to be in drought conditions. As of the Thursday, that number has grown to 92%, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

RFD said last year fireworks were linked to 96 fire-related incidents and caused more than $760,000 in property losses in Minnesota. Those figures could increase due to the dry conditions.

RFD reminds residents that in Minnesota, any fireworks that leave the ground or explode are illegal.

RFD offers the following fireworks safety tips:

  • Read and follow all instructions prior to using.
  • Never point fireworks at anyone or let children use them unsupervised.
  • Hand-held sparklers can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees, and 30% of fireworks injuries in Minnesota ever year are caused by these “safe” fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks well away from structures, trees, storage tanks, or other combustible materials.
  • Consider wetting down dry vegetation and the ground around the area where fireworks will be lit and have a garden hose close by if possible.
  • Never ignite fireworks inside a container such as a bottle or can.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to soak used fireworks or “duds” that fail to ignite. Do not try to relight duds.
  • Fireworks that leave the ground or explode are illegal in Minnesota, they potentially can land on roofs or other combustible materials.