Reducing fire risks to holiday decorations

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(ABC 6 News) – It is our driest October since 2011 and expected to be only the third time we have been this dry in October since the year 2000.

Based on measurements at Rochester international airport, we have gotten less than an inch of precipitation this October.

This past weekend, we saw winds gust upwards of 50 mph in Rochester and Lyle.

This means it is even more critical to check any electronics, heaters, or decorations to make sure they are functioning properly.

Spencer Klemm, a firefighter with the Rochester Fire Department describes one of the riskier things that could start a fire. “So if you have to use something like a space heater, make sure it’s out by itself and not anything flammable.”

Space heaters should also only be on when someone is present.

That way if it causes a fire, it can be put out while it’s small. Klemm also says to make sure the correct extension chord is being used that way there isn’t too much power running through any decorations.

Another thing to keep in mind is the material of costumes. Several costumes are made out of polyester and props are made of plastics that the fire department says are highly flammable.

They are also becoming more common. Klemm says “It’s the way all materials are going nowadays.”

It also helps to limit open flames. Battery-operated jack-o-lanterns are at a lower risk of starting a fire than those with a candle or any open flame inside.

Klemm describes why “That wind is gonna push that fire even more. It’s gonna burn faster; it’s gonna burn hotter.”

The rainfall we got this week did help improve drought conditions a little, but it did not make a huge difference due to how far behind we have been recently.

The good news is that we are expecting warmer temperatures for Halloween weekend. Space heaters and other types of heaters will likely not be required for the weekend. Furthermore, winds are not expected to be nearly as strong.