Why The 4th of July Is The Worst Time For Outdoor Fires

Despite the dry weather, many Harris County residents will still be able to shoot fireworks this 4th of July, but officials are urging caution.


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A study from FEMA shows more brush and outdoor fires on Independence Day than any other day of the year.  Figures show the number of fires around the country is nearly four times higher on July 4 and 5. Total damages are estimated at $77 million dollars.  

Tom Spencer with the Texas A&M Forest Service says even though some parts of the state are still struggling with a lingering drought, there’s not a high amount of wildfire activity. But with the approach of the summer’s biggest holiday, they’re worried about fireworks.  

“The concerns are the aerials, the ones that folks shoot up into the air and could get taken off by the wind, or go down range with the wind.”   

Many towns and cities around the state ban fireworks, but they’re usually legal in the rural areas, unless there’s a burn ban. Spencer says if you live in a place where you can shoot fireworks, read all directions carefully, and keep a bucket of water nearby. He says it’s also a good idea to use a paved area, away from dry grass. 
“Where that if the sparks do happen to hit the ground, they’re hitting something that’s not going to catch fire.”

As for the laws here locally, you can’t shoot fireworks in the city of Houston, but they are legal in some parts of unincorporated Harris County. They’re also legal in unicorporated Galveston County. 

Despite the dry weather there are no fireworks bans but local officials are urging people to use caution.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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