FAIRFIELD — Dry conditions have local firefighters and police warning residents to be extra careful about how they celebrate the Fourth of July holiday this year.
California is in a severe drought, fire conditions are already extreme and Fairfield is surrounded by dry, flammable vegetation. More fires occur on this holiday than any other single day of the year. The Fairfield Fire Department and the Fairfield Police Department said in a Tuesday press release that they would like everyone to celebrate the Fourth of July safely.
All fireworks, even those designated as “Safe and Sane,” are prohibited in Fairfield, but are allowed in Suisun City through July 4. Anyone selling or setting off fireworks in Fairfield or Vacaville can be cited or arrested, fined, and the fireworks seized.
Law enforcement is instead asking people to drop off fireworks at any city of Fairfield fire station for safe disposal.
Residents are asked to celebrate the holiday at one of the local events that feature professional fireworks – shows such as Suisun City’s waterfront show, Vallejo’s waterfront show or the Vacaville fireworks show in Andrews Park, all starting at about 9:15 p.m.
Fairfield officials said that in 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires nationwide, including 1,200 total structure fires and 400 vehicle fires. The fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
Residents were also reminded to remember to also take care of their pets by not taking them to fireworks displays or leaving them alone in the car.
Owners should keep their pets in a comfortable and quiet area during July 4 festivities. Be sure to remove any items that a pet could destroy or that would be harmful to the pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep the pet company if you won’t be home.
Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
Public safety officials also put forward general tips for enjoying Fourth of July weekend activities such as grilling and swimming.
Residents were reminded to double-check their grills to make sure all parts are operating properly and to be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already-lit fire because the flames can flash back up into the container and explode. Also, never grill in enclosed areas.
Dispose of hot coals properly – douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
Water safety tips included:
More information can be found through various websites including The American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety and Pool Safely at www.poolsafely.gov.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.