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Drought conditions in Missouri are sparking worries about fires from Fourth of July fireworks

A large crowd is seen at the bottom of the frame. Above them red fireworks stream into the night air above several downtown buildings.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Fireworks erupt over the Power and Light District shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 57.

Data surveyed by the U.S Drought Monitor show that the percentage of "abnormally dry" conditions in Missouri is 93%, up from 7.5% just three months ago. The Kansas City area is in a "moderate drought." Fire officials say that could increase the possibility of fires being ignited by consumer fireworks.

The Fourth of July is about to get fired up this year as drought conditions increase the risk for fires.

For the last three months, data surveyed by theU.S Drought Monitorshow that the percentage of "abnormally dry" conditions increased from 7.5% to slightly above 93% in Missouri.

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean encourages everyone to keep an eye on the weather and use extreme caution if they choose to use consumer fireworks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 40% of Independence Day structure fires are the result of fireworks.

Sparklers, while small, can burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can quickly ignite clothing and cause severe burns. According to the NFPA, 25% of emergency room visits are a result of sparkler injuries.

Missourians who choose to use consumer fireworks should follow these safety tips:

  • Confirm fireworks are legal where you live; only purchase fireworks from licensed retailers.
  • Only use fireworks in a large open space that is clear of flammable materials. Do not light fireworks in areas where a spark could ignite dry grass, leaves of other flammable materials.
  • Always have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
  • Only light fireworks one at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned
  • Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
  • Never shoot fireworks off from a glass jar or container.
  • Never use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
  • Never store fireworks from season to season.

For additional questions or concerns about firework safety, contact the Division of Fire Safety at 573-751-2930.
Copyright 2023 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Dylan Durrington
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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