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Nikki Fried, Forest Service remind that fireworks can start wildfires

“The potential for wildfire is always heightened when fire and sparks exist outdoors.”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and State Forester Jim Karels have issued a warning reminding people that it is wildfire season in Florida and careless fireworks, grilling, or campfires can spark wildfires.

Consequently, Fried and Karels, who is director of the Florida Forest Service in Fried’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, offered a list of fireworks safety tips as a reminder to prevent wildfires. Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis offered similar suggestions.

“The potential for wildfire is always heightened when fire and sparks exist outdoors,” Fried stated in a news release. “As we enjoy celebrating our freedom in this great nation on Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues and campfires, we need all Floridians to use fire responsibly and understand their role in keeping our families and friends safe.”

“High temperatures and dry conditions are expected across parts of the state,” Karels stated in the release. “Changes in weather patterns and Florida’s unique, fire-prone vegetation have the potential to ignite a fire at any time. These factors require residents to be vigilant as they use fire.”

Among their tips:

Check state and local laws before using fireworks. Local fire and police departments and the State Fire Marshal’s Office can provide guidance.

— Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris;

— Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources;

— Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land;

— Always have a water source available;

— Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas;

— Never use homemade fireworks;

— Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water;

— Store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children;

— Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is completely out before leaving it;

— Report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.

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