Firefighters warn residents to be safe when setting off fireworks



We're just two days away from the 4th of July, and police officers and firefighters are warning you to be safe and not break the law if you plan to set off any fireworks this year.

Right now, the fire danger in Benton County is very high.

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the fire danger in Benton County is higher than any other county in the state right now.

Firefighters say the conditions outside are extremely dry, and the triple digit temperatures we're experiencing are making things worse.

They say if you plan to set off fireworks this year, stay away from dry areas, and make sure what you're setting off is legal in your area.

Firefighters say a good rule of thumb is to only set off fireworks in the city you buy them in.

Fireworks are illegal in Kennewick, and in all of Franklin County.

Ground fireworks are legal in Richland, West Richland and unincorporated parts of Benton County, but they're illegal in Prosser.

Firefighters say with the dry conditions outside, it doesn't take much to start a fire that could quickly get out of control.

"Being out in an open field, the grasses, the cheatgrass, some of the rabbitbrush and bunchgrass we have, the ignition temperature is 130 degrees, so all it takes is a single spark. It doesn't take a flamy firework or bottle rocket to land. It just takes a spark from a sparkler, working outdoors, even a rock chipped off a lawn mower to get the grass going. And with a little bit of a breeze behind it, it can become out of control quickly, even if you have water and a shovel nearby" said Deputy Chief Mike Harris, Benton County Fire District 1.

Kennewick police say they have already been getting calls from residents complaining about other people setting off fireworks within the city.

They say they investigate these calls, and they can quickly deplete their resources.

Firefighters say if you're concerned that the dry grass on your property may be too high right now, don't mow it, because even a small spark from the lawn mower could start a fire in the current conditions.

They say instead, wait until after the 4th of July to mow any areas like that.

If you have any questions about what is legal or illegal in your city, contact your fire department.