Yet another hot, dry summer has fire officials in Scottsdale worried about wildfires in the city, and particularly in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This has led to the concern about fireworks and the danger of sparks setting the north part of Scottsdale ablaze.
“This has become a yearly problem,” says Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon. “We really need the public to take advantage of other opportunities to celebrate July 4 than attempting a dangerous personal fireworks show.”
Shannon encourages the viewing of professional displays where safety measures are in place to quickly address any potential hazards. “Safety professionals and firefighters are at the ready to deal with these controlled shows. It is those events that occur due to personal use that have us scrambling,” he says.
Nationally on average, fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 reported fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Annually, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treat an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries; 36 percent of those injuries were to children under the age of 15, says the NFPA. Sparklers accounted for 25 percent of the injuries.
Senate Bill 1158 allows for the sale of consumer fireworks from May 20 thru July 6. Chief Shannon stresses that just because they are legal, doesn’t mean they are safe to use. In Scottsdale, their use in and near many sensitive desert areas remains illegal and violators are subject to substantial fines. Use of fireworks is prohibited in the Scottsdale Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Park and all properties located within 1 mile of these fragile desert lands.
- Regardless of the cause, it is important to know what to do if a brush fire breaks out. Wildland fires burn rapidly and winds often make them unpredictable. So, be very cautious when attempting to control a brush fire with a garden hose. Call the fire department for assistance every time. Dial 9-1-1.
- Report brush fires immediately by dialing 911. Never assume someone else will make the call.
- Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave keys in ignition. Close garage doors/windows. Disconnect automatic garage openers.
- Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for pets in case you must evacuate.
- Follow instructions of emergency personnel. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Lock your home. Tell someone when you left and where you're going. Choose a route away from fire hazard. Watch for changes in fire's speed and direction.
The National Fire Protection Alliance (NFPA) has a FREE 20-minute course that covers the basics of wildfire. Learn more of what you can do to protect your home.
Get a wildland fire safety assessment.