MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Buster Johnson would like to remind residents to be aware of fire danger during this time of year.
Due to the high risk of grass and brush fires in the county, residents should use extreme care and all safety measures when utilizing legal consumer fireworks within the unincorporated areas of the county and should be aware of open fire restrictions in many areas of the county.
According to County Emergency Management Coordinator Byron Steward, during the last two weeks, the high temperatures and gusty winds have contributed to the very rapid development of extremely dry vegetative conditions in the lower elevations of Mohave County.
“The rains earlier this year in many areas promoted a heavier growth of grass and brush that is now dried out and easily ignited,” he said. “Vegetation in the higher elevations such as the Hualapai and Cerbat mountains has also dried significantly, contributing to a high fire risk in those areas. Extreme fire behavior with very rapidly moving flame fronts was evident in several wildfires to which county area fire departments responded in the last two weeks. It is the consensus among county fire chiefs that an extreme fire danger has developed in many areas of the county.”
Although only certain types of novelty and non-aerial consumer fireworks are allowed to be legally sold, most of the legal hand-held and ground-based sparklers will emit showers of sparks that will ignite extremely dry vegetation, particularly if used in close proximity to grass or brush or when breezy or windy conditions carry sparks a good distance, Steward said. “These fireworks should only be used in conditions of little or no wind and on open non-flammable surfaces such as bare dirt and concrete well away from any vegetation, buildings or other ignitable material. Individuals using fireworks should also keep water containers, connected hoses, or fire extinguishers at hand to wet bare ground before using fireworks, thoroughly douse used fireworks, and extinguish spot fires started by sparks. Illegal fireworks, such as firecrackers, roman candles, aerials, bottle and sky rockets, and single tube devices, are naturally even more dangerous. Careless or negligent use of fireworks, regardless of whether they are legal or not, that result in property damage, life safety threats or injuries, or significant fire suppression costs can result in criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits. It is suspected that at least two of the recent grass fires in the Kingman area were ignited by fireworks.”
Several fire departments and districts have restrictions or prohibitions in place on open fires so residents should be aware of the restrictions affecting them. Fireworks are not allowed on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, State Trust lands, or the Hualapai Mountain Park. Currently open campfires and grill usage are allowed on these lands only in developed campgrounds with established fire rings and provided grills. All other open fires are prohibited.
In addition to the fire ignition danger, many injuries, particularly to young children, occur from fireworks use each year, Steward said.
Here are a few tips to follow to keep your children, your home and your community safe while using legal fireworks:
Never allow young children to play with fireworks.
Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers or lighting fireworks.
Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person.
Never shoot off fireworks in a metal or glass container.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy.
Be aware of your surroundings and use common sense.