Drought conditions lead to community-wide fire hazard warning
(Marietta, Ga. – June 22, 2007) Fire officials from across Cobb County have joined together to urge residents to reduce the risk of fires as they celebrate Independence Day during drought conditions.
Cobb and its six cities are under level two drought restrictions as determined by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The lack of rainfall and generally dry conditions have left much of the area prone to fires. Officials from Cobb, Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, Acworth, Powder Springs and Austell have been closely monitoring these dangerous conditions and are concerned fireworks may lead to brush and structure fires.
Residents are reminded many of the novelty fireworks sold in Georgia are a fire hazard and can lead to brush or structure fires when not used properly. A single spark into dry pine straw, grass or undergrowth can quickly become an uncontrolled fire leading to property damage and/or injury.
Officials have worked together to promote safety at commercial firework displays across the county including those scheduled for Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta. Residents are encouraged to participate in these free public displays instead of placing themselves and neighbors at risk by using fireworks in their own neighborhoods.
Police will be on patrol looking for illegal fireworks being used across the county. Illegal fireworks are those that are not considered novelty items under Georgia law and are most frequently purchased outside of the state. The illegal use of fireworks could result in criminal charges.
On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires. (source NFPA.org)
Nationwide in 2004, fireworks started an estimated 1,600 structure fires and 600 vehicle fires which were reported to local fire departments. These fires resulted in 20 civilian injuries and $21 million in direct property damage. There were no reported civilian deaths. (source NFPA.org)
School-age children are at the highest risk of fireworks injuries. In 2005, nearly half of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.