Pressure : 29.85 in
Dewpoint : 63.0 °
Wind : South
Fireworks in dry conditions cause concern for local fire officials
They are a staple of the Fourth of July holiday, and they went on sale in Hastings Wednesday.
But because of the hot, dry conditions, fire officials are urging extreme caution when setting off fireworks.
"There's really going to be no change in the weather conditions," said Mike Moritz with the National Weather Service in Hastings.
The triple digit heat across the area is prompting heat advisories and red flag warnings which means, "Basically the weather conditions are favorable for extreme fire growth if a fire develops," Moritz said.
Two examples: smoke from a fire in Phillipsburg, Kan. that showed up on the radar and the massive fires burning in the foothills in southern Colorado.
"It's important that people be aware of these conditions that aren't going to change anytime soon," Mortiz said.
The fire threat will likely increase, even as fireworks stands begin selling their merchandise.
"Even if you purchase them today, it may be wise to just hold off at all if possible," said Linda Waldron with the Hastings Fire Department.
The Hastings Fire Department wants residents to be aware of the dry conditions, as well as what can and cannot be set off in city limits.
Waldron says fire lanterns are a big concern because once they are lit, the wind carries them away.
Waldron read from the back of the product's wrapper, "Do not launch near airports--within a five-mile radius--roads, or dry standing crops."
She says that means the city of Hastings.
Even though fireworks can now be set off, Moritz says to be aware of the dangers.
"It's not wise to go out in the tender dry field and set this stuff off," he said.
The National Weather Service adds the conditions won't improve anytime soon.
"If you get rain, you're probably lucky through at least mid-July," Mortiz said.
Fireworks can be sold and set off in Hastings from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 27 through July 2, and until midnight July 3 and July 4.
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