Fire officials warn 'Legal fireworks can still be dangerous'

Credit: Deren Martinez/KTVB

Fire officials warn 'Legal fireworks can still be dangerous'

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 5:33 PM

NAMPA – Many are out hitting up the firework stands that have popped up on just about every street corner buying up fireworks for the 4th of July celebration.

With so many people planning to hold their own firework show, firefighters are worried about the potential for fires, especially considering the hot and dry weather we've had the last few days.

On Wednesday morning, KTVB saw firsthand how fast a little flame from a firework can ignite dry grass, and how fast it can spread out of control.

With a drop of a sparkler in some dry weeds, a fire grew and spread rapidly.  In less than a minute the fire blackened a pretty good sized area.

"If we are at our station one and this happened here, we're talking at least five minutes before we're going to get here," said Nampa Fire Deputy Chief Doug Strosnider.

While this fire was controlled and started on purpose, an accident starting a fire just like this one is plausible.

"The fuels in this whole area are this dry and you know, obviously we took a sparkler there, but you take a little, a shooting, anything that's going to shoot flames, balls, whatever and it drops one of those into this grass, you're going to have the same outcome," said Strosnider.

Strosnider worked with KTVB to see what legal fireworks can do.

"You saw the little fireballs that came off it, you can still see some of the remnants on the ground," said Strosnider.

Winds can take the sparks and carry them to nearby bushes, trees or fields.

At Fortress Fireworks in Boise, off 36th and State streets, Brad McMurdie says you need to know what each firework does before you set them off.

"You've got to be careful; got to make sure you light it and get away, make sure you've got enough distance, no trees around you. Make sure you're in a safe spot, I mean they can cause fires, especially when you're not being careful, which is where most fires start from," said McMurdie.

KTVB lit two fireworks that were identical, but produced two different outcomes. One shot a ball into the air, the other did what it was supposed to do, shoot a fountain of sparks into the air.

Another firework started off with a fountain and then took a surprise turn, a turn that if you're too close and not expecting it, could spell trouble.

The bottom blew out and had more fireworks come out the bottom.

"People need to realize these things are dangerous. They're not consistent. There's nothing consistent about them," said Strosnider.

And here's something else to remember, don't let kids light fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, children 15 and under account for 50 percent of firework-related injuries.

So be safe and remember to have water handy and light these where there is no chance of starting a fire.

If you don't want to host a fireworks show in your front yard, let the professionals handle everything.

There are several shows throughout the Treasure Valley, starting tonight with the God and Country Festival at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

For a complete event guide click here.

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