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Celebrate safely: Fireworks get the jump on the season; don’t let fire get a jump on you

Did you hear it Monday night?

Fireworks.

Already with the fireworks.

No denying it’s fun, but some folks just can’t wait to ignite their testaments to patriotism.

However, July 4 front yard pyrotechnics is the summer holiday kin to Christmas ornaments going on sale at Labor Day. As a society we continue to rush things.

The whole point of fireworks, as a reminder of the important military victories that gave this country its freedom, is to set them off on or about the holiday – not a week and a half ahead of time.

Another reason to wait is a practical reason, one in the public interest.

For safety sake, use fireworks sparingly. Things are dry out there.

Yes, rain is in the forecast, and for our cherry growers’ sake we hope it’s not a heavy one.

But the forests and the grasslands around us, while not exactly tinder, are most certainly on the dry side. Burn restrictions are now in effect, for good reason.

Remember the Owens Fire, east of Odell last week? It happened after a rain – not much of a rain, but at least one of the two days of precipitation included a gutter-filling downpour. And a fire still broke out.

It doesn’t take long for the fuels to get dry, and in our area of scenic splendor we are surrounded by fuels, even in our residential neighborhoods.

“Oregon’s fire season is already upon us, but it is still hard to predict what will happen later this summer and fall around Mount Hood,” Laura Pramuk, public affairs officer for the Mt. Hood National Forest, stated in the June 18 edition of the Hood River News.

The concern is not just in the National Forest, but everywhere this time of year. Human error gets the blame in most wildfires, and the late-June-to-early-July period, accompanied by dangerous fireworks (even the legal ones are hand-held hazards) is time of added risk.

Enjoy your legal fireworks; Lions Clubs and school groups sell them as fundraisers for their projects. But enjoy those fireworks safely: that essentially means at home, on your paved driveway, with a bucket of water at hand and your dog indoors.

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