(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 3:07 PM
While fireworks displays can be breathtaking and enjoyable, Lake Charles Fire Department Fire Chief Keith Murray says there are certain precautions that must be taken to ensure the safety of both the people involved and nearby property.
Murray said that most fires started by fireworks come about because of dry conditions — a problem he believes will be downplayed in the area this year because of recent storms.
“We used to get a lot of calls a couple of years ago specifically because the whole area was in a drought and the ground was so dry,” he said. “Even without fireworks we were having a lot of grassfires.
“I’m not saying that people weren’t doing careless things with fireworks, but the condition of the ground didn’t help. The ground is wet now, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t need to be careful,” he said.
Though ground conditions cannot be controlled by people planning on lighting fireworks, Murray said that there are still steps that can be taken to ensure a safe New Year’s.
“Fireworks get bigger and more extravagant every year, and though they are beautiful, these new fireworks require more space. You have to go in an area with a lot of open space, without trees or houses, an area that is just wide open. If you have enough space, when lit the fireworks will go up in the air and come down without causing any trouble, especially this year because the grass is so wet,” he said.
Murray said that people should strictly adhere to the instructions printed on the packaging of every firework.
“People do crazy things with fireworks, we see it all the time,” he said.
“People have bottle rocket wars with each other. Usually if they are fired into the air like they are intended, when their husks come down to the ground they are cool enough. If they are shot at the ground, they will catch on fire. We hope nothing like that happens this season, but if it does our boys are ready to go,” he said.