Interior officials concerned over fireworks

Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Interior firefighting officials are warning people to be careful with fireworks because of conditions prone to wildfire.

''It's been windier than usual and it's a lot drier than people think, because of a little scattered showers,'' said Michael McGowan, a fire prevention officer for the state Division of Forestry. He suggested saving fireworks for a rainy day or even winter if Friday, the Fourth of July, dawns a high fire danger day.

If a person cannot resist, fire officials recommend using fireworks in gravel pits or on sand bars along rivers.

Fireworks are prohibited within Fairbanks city limits but are allowed within North Pole as long as they're fired on private property.

State statute makes it illegal to shoot fireworks into a wooded area.

The only time the Division of Forestry issued a ban on fireworks was during the 1996 Big Lake fire that burned 400 homes and 37,000 acres.

The Interior has averaged one fire per year caused by fireworks in the last five years. McGowan said most people in the Interior use common sense while using fireworks.



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