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HEAT, LACK OF RAIN CAUSE PROBLEMS

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Crittenden Fire Chief Lee Burton hopes caution is the rule when local families celebrate this year’s Fourth of July, especially since a small spark from a sparkler could touch off a large grass or brush fire in these dry conditions.

“I’m strongly urging all persons who plan to play with fireworks to take every precaution they can,” Burton said.
His tips for handling fireworks include having a garden hose or water supply close by, a bucket of sand to place used fireworks in and not disposing of used fireworks in a garbage can where they could ignite other trash.

Last year, Burton said a 14-year-old girl in the Mt. Zion area saved her family from tragedy after she awoke to crackling sounds and discovered a garbage can with used fireworks had caught fire burning up a patio and part of an outside wall following the family’s July 4th celebration.

Because of the extremely dry conditions, more than 70 counties have declared burn bans.

Neighboring counties under a burn ban include Boone, Campbell and Scott counties.

Some of these bans include fireworks, which go hand in hand with celebrating the fourth of July.

As of July 2, Grant County was not under a burn ban, but fire officials are worried about the possibility for grass fire started from fireworks.

“I am concerned that if fireworks are not handled properly, they could create a grass fire situation,” said Dry Ridge Fire Chief Tom Jump.

“Everything is so dry.”

Jump said the department had responded to several “nuisance type fires,” where people carelessly tossed out a cigarette and caught mulch on fire.

“No one wants to dampen people’s good time for the Fourth of July, but people just need to use common sense with what they’re doing and where they are doing it,” Jump said.

Firefighters across Kentucky have been battling wildfires that have been caused by sparks from vehicles, farm equipment and downed power lines.

“These extreme weather conditions not only increase fire danger, but also make it very taxing on the firefighters working to eliminate the fires,” said Kentucky Fire Commission Executive Director Ronnie Day.