California drought sparks fireworks concern

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Dry conditions due to the drought have raised safety concerns over the use of Fourth of July fireworks. (KFSN)

Dry conditions due to the drought have raised safety concerns over the use of Fourth of July fireworks.

Kids are quick to let their parents know they just passed a fireworks stand. But the drought has more people less enthused about buying a box this year.

Tall dry weeds and brown lawns have become the norm in this drought. The crispy conditions have many concerned about the fireworks season. Kathy Gonzales said, "I think this year they should say no fireworks."

In an exclusive Action News poll conducted SurveyUSA, 51 percent of Valley residents said they were very concerned about fireworks use because of the drought, while 29 percent were somewhat concerned.

Gonzales was so concerned she planned to wet her roof before July 4th. She explained, "It's going to go up like that. With the water all the yards in my neighborhood are nice and dry. The roof with all the pine needles is dry. It's going to catch fire real quick."

Firework stands have gone up. They'll open for business in Fresno Sunday at noon.

Organizations have long relied on fireworks fundraising sales. But Fresno City Fire Deputy Fire Marshal Don MacAlpine understands why some have called for a fireworks ban. MacAlpine said, "It's a traditional way of celebration for us in this country. Yet the evidence of damage it can cause and has caused is significant."

MacAlpine said people caught using illegal fireworks faced a $1,250 fine. That included bottle rockets and other fireworks which leave the ground and explode. Patricia Perez of Fresno said, "You could get careless, don't mean to, and every year I see a fire."

MacAlpine urged everyone to be extra careful because we have already seen how small fires can quickly spread. He said, "Particularly right now with our ongoing drought conditions, our taller vegetation, our mature vegetation is drying out. Our palm trees, our pine trees, some of those and those ignite so easily."

Still, fireworks sales can be the biggest moneymakers for many groups so they held out hope people don't stop buying.
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droughtbeat the droughtfireworks4th of julyholidayfresno countycaliforniaFresno
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