Abnormally dry conditions and fireworks don't mix: The science of dry fuel and how to celebrate safely

NOW: Abnormally dry conditions and fireworks don’t mix: The science of dry fuel and how to celebrate safely


The holiday weekend in full swing and you may want to celebrate with your own fireworks display. However, abnormally dry conditions throughout Indiana could spark a disaster.

Sunday, Michiana is going to see some very dry conditions in an abnormally dry season, according to the US Drought Monitor, which does not mix well with fireworks.

Fires need three things to spread: oxygen, a heat source, such as a firework, and fuel, like grass, branches, trees, etc. Right now, the fuel is dry. It’s like starting a campfire, you want dry kindling to get the fire going. You’ll stay away from wet logs as they’ll dampen the fire. With dry vegetation around us it’ll make it a lot easier for the fire to spread. The heat from the fire won’t have to work as hard to evaporate the moisture in the fuel.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2018, an estimated 19,500 fires were started by fireworks causing more than 100 million dollars in direct property damage. Nearly one-third of those fires were reported on the Fourth of July. So, what can you do?

It is recommended to stay away from using bottle rockets and sky rockets in dry conditions because they can travel several yards and you may not know if you’ve started a fire. Keep a hose, fire extinguisher, or bucket of water nearby. Save the fireworks for better conditions. Or you can always stick to a professional show.

Read more on fireworks safety here. 

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