Update: Dry Weather Won't Stop Fireworks July 4th in Alpharetta
The city's fire marshall warns that extremely dry conditions with low humidity is creating a dangerous July 4th, and he asks that residents skip setting off their own fireworks.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m., July 2: Alpharetta Fire Marshall David Morris is warning that extremely dry conditions and low humidity are creating a very dangerous recipe for this July 4th.
“All it will take is one errant firework or a spark from a grill to ignite someone’s backyard or even start a house on fire,” Morris said in a news release emailed this afternoon.
For that reason the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety is asking residents to forego the use of any consumer fireworks and to be especially careful with their backyard barbecues on Wednesday.
“Everybody wants to have a memorable 4th of July,” says Morris, “but nobody wants to remember it as the night they started their neighbor’s house on fire. Unfortunately, with conditions as dry as they are, that threat is all too real this year. Fireworks landing in gutters with dry leaves or pine straw, or in pine straw or wood mulch next to a house, can easily ignite and cause a devastating fire.”
Explosive fireworks are illegal in Georgia, but sparklers, “fountains” and similar non-explosive devices are legal and can be enjoyed safely if the right precautions are taken. Others, including firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs, are illegal in Georgia and can draw a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Morris recommends that area residents take advantage of one of the numerous professional fireworks shows occurring in the area on Wednesday.
“My personal favorite is the July 4th celebration at Wills Park,” says Morris, “but I could be a little biased on that.”
The fireworks will go on at Wills Park on Independence Day, but Alpharetta decided on additional safety measures for its July 4th show.
"City staff met this morning to discuss the fireworks plan for Wednesday night," said Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard. "The fireworks will go on as planned; however, some additional measures will be taken due to the dry conditions."
- Staging of an additional fire engine near the event site;
- Placement of water trucks at strategic locations;
- Strict enforcement of rules prohibiting personal fireworks and of the policy on use of grills in the park.
The dry conditions and risk of fire has Alpharetta also strongly urging residents to not use personal fireworks at home; even those allowed under existing laws.
It's possible that it won't be dry on the holiday. The National Weather Service predicts a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms on July 4, but the high will reach 96 degrees, hot enough to dry the air and ground cover quickly. And a west wind between 5 and 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph, would fan any flames.
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