Environment

How Weather Could Hamper Fourth of July Plans

So far, firefighters have already been combating 25 active fires this past week. And their job could get a lot harder on Independence Day, if people irresponsibly set off fireworks in regions experiencing extreme heat and dryness.

The National Interagency Fire Center has issued a warning against setting off fireworks on public lands, and 11 states have imposed fire restrictions—in addition to numerous local restrictions—for the Fourth of July holiday, according to The Weather Channel. Here's a map of those states:

map

The worst of this week's predicted heat wave—expected meet or break temperature records "dating back as far as the mid- to late 1900s"—is slated to hit these states on Thursday and Friday. But dry, hot, and breezy weather conditions will also raise the risk of wildfires on Tuesday.

accuweather

"High temperatures will be up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for much of the week and upcoming weekend," AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rathbun reported.

Current weather conditions could exacerbate the threat of wildfires created by firework misfires.

In 2013, fireworks were responsible for an estimated 15,600 fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. From 2009 to 2013, fireworks launched on Independence Day accounted for about half (48 percent) of all firework-related fires.

Though multiple states and cities have made efforts to mitigate the risk of these accidental fires—placing restrictions on the type of fireworks that can be purchased and where they can be used—public safety officials are still encouraging residents to take simple precautions if they plan to use fireworks.

Those precautions include following instructions listed on the products, keeping a supply of water handy in the event of a mishap, placing used fireworks in a container filled with water, and using fireworks only in areas without vegetation.

fireworks

While extreme heat and dryness is always a problem during the summer months, recent years have seen an increased frequency of record-breaking temperatures throughout the world. Given that climate scientists predict that these extreme weather trends will continue to worsen, it might mean it's time to reevaluate time-honored traditions, like launching colorful explosives into the sky.