Fireworks can be beautiful and great fun to set off, but they also pose a significant fire hazard as well. The following facts about the fire risks involved with fireworks are a timely reminder for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Firework-caused fires generally occur when flying material from the fireworks lands on combustibles and sets them on fire. Fireworks should only be set off in wide, open spaces away from any combustibles such as dry grass, buildings and forests.
Keep a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher on hand when setting off fireworks in case of fires. Douse fireworks with water after they finish burning to prevent trash fires. Only use fireworks outdoors.
Fireworks are responsible for 18,500 reported fires every year on average, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and it’s worth noting that only one in four fires which occur are ever reported. NFPA says that 300 of reported fires are vehicle fires, 1,300 are structure fires and the remaining 16,900 are “outside and other fires.” NFPA says that 40 civilian injuries, three deaths and $43 million in direct damage to properties are caused by these fireworks-related fires on average each year.
Twenty-eight percent of firework-started fires from 2009 until 2013 occurred on the Fourth of July. Forty-seven percent of all fires on Independence Day during this time period were caused by fireworks.
With the heightened California wildfire risk in Summer and early Fall, it’s important to be extremely cautious when setting off fireworks. A hot ember landing on dry brush or grass can ignite a fire that can quickly spread. You should also check with your city and municipality to confirm that fireworks are legal in your area. A better option is to attend a free fireworks display in your city that is coordinated by professionals.
How Hot Do Fireworks Get?
NFPA states that fireworks can reach temperatures of almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and sparklers can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Examples Of Recent Fires Caused By Fireworks
- A fire along a levee in Texas on June 26th, 2019, was believed to have been caused by fireworks.
- 1-2 acres were burned in Oregon on June 25th, 2019, in a fire caused by fireworks.
- In Washington, police reported that people shooting fireworks at each other from moving cars lit a family’s yard on fire on June 24th, 2019.
- A home and shed were damaged in California by a fireworks-caused fire on June 15th, 2019.
- Officials concluded that a fire in Chicago which killed seven children and two adults in August 2018, may have been started by fireworks.
- An elderly couple was killed in 2014 when a neighbor accidentally set their home alight with fireworks.
Don’t Drink & Drive
We’d also like to take a moment to remind everyone to not drink and drive. Each year, our office receives a spike in calls about drunk driving accident injuries around all Holidays, including Independence Day. There are so many ways to get home safely, call a friend or family member, use a ridesharing service, call a taxi, or wait to sober up before getting behind the wheel.
The personal injury attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen hope that everyone enjoys a safe and fun Fourth of July. Remember, that