INDIANAPOLIS — Dry conditions stretching across much of central Indiana pose a dangerous fire risk as fireworks light up the sky this Fourth of July weekend.
Firefighters say the drought may mean changing your holiday plans to stay safe.
"We recommend, in these dry conditions, they forgo the fireworks. If you can, you come downtown, watch some other event going on," Indianapolis Fire Department Fire Marshal Michael Beard said. "With the dry conditions, fire can spread very quickly. It can go not just from vegetation, but to buildings that are adjacent, so please make sure you're safe when lighting a firework."
To demonstrate the risk, the Bargersville Fire Department posted a video to Facebook Thursday showing how quickly a lit sparkler can ignite a dried-out lawn.
Seconds after dropping a lit sparkler in a patch of brown grass, white smoke appears. Within 30 seconds, there are visible flames and the grass is blackened across an area of a few feet. In less than two minutes, the burned patch appears to be several square yards in size. After an edit in the video, the burned out grass covered an area that appeared to be several dozen feet across.
"This could have spread to structures and other property, causing significant damage or injuries," the department wrote.
If you still plan to put on your own fireworks show, keep water available to extinguish any embers and put used fireworks in sparklers in water, too, so they don't catch anything else on fire. Used sparklers can be left in buckets of water for several hours until they are cool enough to be safely thrown out.
It's also a good idea to spray your yard with some water before you set off fireworks to put some moisture into the grass in case a firework lands on your lawn.