Sparkling lights of red, white and blue can quickly turn from a celebration to a fire hazard, reaching temperatures of up to 1200 degrees.
In fact, more fires are reported on Independence Day than any other day in the year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Oklahoma has a particularly high risk of wildfires and is currently considered the most dangerous state in the nation during the 4th of July weekend, according to ASecureLife’s annual Fourth of July state safety report.
Ardmore Fire Department Fire Marshal Tim Lee said the department sees an increase in fires during Independence Day weekend every year.
“Generally it’s the grass on fire and then sometimes it can get into structures and burn structures, but we definitely see an increase in fires and medical calls due to injuries from the fireworks,” Lee said.
In 2018, 1,700 acres per 100,000 were burned in Oklahoma during the 4th of July weekend. Lee said risks range from outside fires to personal injuries, with a large amount of incidents originating from sparklers.
“They burn up to about 1,200 degrees,” Lee said. “We bake our cakes and stuff at about 350 degrees, so it gets pretty hot pretty fast.”
Around 13,000 people nationwide are treated for injuries from fireworks, Lee said. To prevent accidents, individuals should refrain from using personal fireworks, he said.
Fireworks are also prohibited within city limits, Lee said. If an individual is caught discharging fireworks, they can receive a fine of up to $200.
“Every year we end up with a big box of confiscated fireworks that we have to dispose of,” Lee said.
It is much safer to celebrate by attending professional displays throughout the weekend, he said. But if individuals decide to use personal fireworks there are a few things they should keep in mind.
“If you have to, use adult supervision always,” Lee said. “Don’t let it near the children, or use the fireworks unattended. Be responsible— don’t use alcohol while you’re using them.”
Additionally, Lee said it is important to keep one’s grass short and to keep dead, standing vegetation away from structures when using fireworks.