TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The new year is just around the corner and some of you may be planning on celebrating by lighting off some fireworks. If fireworks are part of your plan, the Florida Forest Service and Commissioner of Agriculture are urging you to use extreme caution.
Commissioner Nikki Fried says fireworks and campfires pose a year-round risk of wildfire. The Florida Forest Service says crews have responded to more than 1,800 wildfires since January. Those fires have burned more than 91,000 acres across the state.
If you plan on lighting fireworks, you should check your local laws first. In addition to making sure you’re using fireworks legally, forest officials are asking you to follow these safety tips:
- Only light fireworks in a cleared area that is free of vegetation and debris
- Remove all debris from roofs or decks where fireworks could land
- Make sure you have a water source and shovel or other suppression tools nearby
- Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas
- Never use homemade fireworks
- Never allow children to handle or light fireworks
- Make sure unused fireworks and lighters are out of reach for children
- Discard all used fireworks in a bucket of water
- Clean up all debris after using fireworks
- Call 911 immediately to report any fires
You can learn more about fire safety and check current wildfire conditions on the Florida Forest Service website.