Enjoy legal fireworks

Published 10:03 pm Friday, July 1, 2011

Fireworks are a popular part of Fourth of July celebrations, but officials are urging residents to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals this holiday weekend.

Not only are fireworks likely to cause a wildfire in local drought conditions, but also unauthorized displays are illegal in Suffolk.

The use or sale of fireworks is prohibited by city code, including firecrackers, skyrockets, sparklers or any other device that explodes, flies through the air or fires projectiles into the air.

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According to the National Fire Protection Association, more fires are reported in America on July 4 than any other day of the year. In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, and emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks-related injuries.

Festive explosives also can cause wildfires.

“One spark is all it would take for a wildfire to start,” said Fred Turck, assistant director for wildfire prevention and education with the Virginia Department of Forestry. “Fireworks that have finished burning are still extremely hot, and they can smolder in dry grass or leaves before a fire ignites.”

So instead of trying to make your own fireworks this Independence Day, check out the official displays at 9 p.m. at Constant’s Wharf and in Eclipse.

For more information on fire safety in Suffolk, call the Suffolk Fire Marshal’s Office at 514-7540. For more information on forestry fire safety, visit the forestry department’s website at www.dof.virginia.gov.