For those planning to celebrate America’s Independence Day with cookouts and fireworks this coming weekend, the Alabama Forestry Commission reminds everyone to observe fire safety precautions. Acting State Forester Dan Jackson encourages people to be cautious. “We certainly want folks to enjoy their 4th of July holiday, but we ask that they use caution with outdoor fires such as grills, campfires, and fireworks,” said Jackson. “Wildfires do not discriminate; they do not stop at property boundaries. They can quickly spread out of control, threatening not only forestland, but lives and property as well.”
Forestry officials make the following recommendations. Avoid shooting fireworks in or near dry grass, leaves, or other combustible materials. Thoroughly soak the area with water where fireworks are to be discharged, and have a garden hose or other source of water nearby.
The same preventive measures apply when using charcoal grills. Do not dump hot coals in, near, or around dry grass, leaves, or other flammable materials. Do not bury hot coals. Allow briquettes to cool completely; or, soak with lots of water, stir them, and soak again, being sure they are cold to the touch. Never leave a grill unattended.
Finally, if a fire does start, it is strongly recommended that you not attempt to fight it yourself. Instead, call 911 immediately, then wait in a safe place for the arrival of the local fire department.
“We are asking the public to know the fire safety rules and help us protect our communities,” continued Jackson. “With the increased wildfire activity we’ve recently witnessed out West, Alabama has the potential to experience that same type disaster.”