Firefighters prepare for busy Fourth of July weekend

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than 19,000 fires are started by fireworks each year with most happening around the fourth of July holiday weekend.

Even with the recent rainfall, there is lots of fuel for fire and local fire agencies are preparing for what’s expected to be a busy weekend for fires and firework related injuries.

“We are doing extra staffing. We do have extra engines as well as the whole command staff set up for an event so that we can manage any incident that may come up including with extra medical personnel and firefighters on duty,” Northwest Fire Captain Matt Storms said.

NWFD and other agencies are doing everything they can to prepare. They see a range of fires sparked by fireworks and Fourth of July activities each year. Even with the recent monsoon storms bringing in some rain, there is still a high fire danger risk. You may not be able to stop people from shooting off fireworks, but there are some things you can do to protect your home.

“Having a defensible space around your house is always beneficial. We don’t have a lot of continuous fuel growth here in the southwest because it’s primarily desert, but if you have a lot of grass and debris near your home, I would always have a safe space,” Capt. Storms said.

Firework stands are preparing for their busiest weekend of the year. Despite an increase in prices due to inflation, people were gearing up today for holiday celebrations.

“Typically between a $100 to $400. Some people do come in with a budget and looking for what they can get with $25, what can they get for $50 and we’re able to work something out,” said , Ashlee Walling, manager of the San Tan Firework Stand.

She has been in the firework business for years. She knows all about the dangers that come with fireworks and she makes sure her customers are aware. Burns account for more than 40% of injuries treated in emergency rooms around July 4th and injuries from sparklers are the most common.

“You don’t want to light anything in your hand. Make sure you set it down and walk away from it. With fireworks, you want to make sure there’s a water hose nearby or at least a bucket of water. After you’ve set off all the fireworks, even a small one, you want to douse it in water and let it soak before throwing it in the garbage,” she said.

If you want to enjoy some fireworks but don’t want to handle them yourself, there are a number of different shows happening over the weekend and on the 4th. You can find details for those here.

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