COLUMBIA — The two-week countdown to Independence Day began Wednesday, which means fireworks season is officially open and tents are popping up around Boone County.
Temporary fireworks vendors will be able to sell consumer-grade fireworks until July 10. Despite moderate drought, sales will proceed as usual, but with extra words of caution from the Boone County Fire Protection District.
- Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.
- Keep young children away from fireworks.
- Make sure to have a water source nearby in case of a fire or an accident
- Always wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
- Tie back long hair and don't wear loose fitting clothes.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
- Keep pets away from fireworks
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.
"We just ask people to be aware of where they're shooting off fireworks," Boone County Fire District Lt. Martina Pounds said. "Concrete would be best, in an open area."
As in past years, fireworks will be considered contraband within Columbia city limits, where unauthorized discharge of fireworks is considered a misdemeanor offense. Beyond city limits, however, all consumer fireworks are allowed.
In terms of fire risk, Pounds said, the Fourth of July is actually no different than any other summer holiday where people get together and become a little more accident prone. Dry grass is the biggest issue, but people should also be aware of trees and wooden structures close by.
State Fire Marshal Randy Cole said this year's dry conditions only elevate the risk posed to structures and grassland.
"The most exciting and entertaining fireworks displays are always at large public shows," Cole said.