Wildfires and fireworks: How can one affect the other?

Local News

Summer begins Sunday, and that means the 4th of July is right around the corner. Fireworks displays were limited last year due to the pandemic and may be limited by the drought this year.

Wildfires have caused quite a bit of damage in western North Dakota this year.

Eric Jensen, the Strategic Communications Chief from the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, said, “Today we announced that there has been more than 100,000 acres burned across the state.”

Counties, such as Morton County, issued total burn bans at the beginning of the year, yet, they have battled fires throughout the spring.

Cody Mattson, the Morton County Emergency Manager, said, “As of this year, we’ve had a total of 18 cumulative fires in Morton County. We’ve had approximately 1,000 acres burn total in our county, 1,092 to be exact.”

With the drought this year, 4th of July festivities may look a little different.

The recent shot of moisture has provided some drought relief, but there are other areas around the state still under a D-4 drought.

In the event fireworks are available for personal use, there are some things to consider.

Mary Senger, the Burleigh County Emergency Manager, said, “If you are going to shoot off your own fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area first. Pay attention to what the fire danger index is for that day. Of course, you know, read the instructions, and don’t set them off in dry grass or dry vegetative areas.”

It’s also recommended to wear tight clothing when shooting off fireworks, and never walk up to investigate a firework that does not go off.

Also, be sure to check city ordinances.

Bismarck Fire Chief Owen Fitzsimmons said, “The sale, storage and usage of fireworks is banned, is prohibited in the City of Bismarck and it has been since 1988.”

Counties will have different suggestions and restrictions depending on the current conditions.

“When the fire danger index is in the high, very high, extreme, or we’re in a red flag warning for that day, fireworks would be banned for that day,” said Mattson.

Generally, the state of North Dakota allows fireworks to be sold between the end of June and shortly after the Independence Day holiday.

For more information on your local burn bans, head to the department of emergency services website at https://www.nd.gov/des.

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