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Drought conditions in Illinois raise fire concerns regarding municipal and personal fireworks

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(The Center Square) – Despite recent rains in some parts of Illinois, the state as a whole is dealing with a drought, causing concerns over fire hazards from fireworks.

Illinois is one of three states that do not allow fireworks, but that doesn’t stop Illinoisans from going over the border to buy them from neighboring states.

Luis Duran with the Rockford Fire Department said northern Illinois has been very dry, which has his department on edge as the July 4th holiday approaches.

“Every year we do get a little nervous because of the dangers of fireworks themselves, especially when we have a drought, it does make us a little more nervous and we’re taking extra precautions by having more personnel out,” said Duran.

Fire officials say residents should cancel any bonfires, fireworks or any open flame until the state receives more rain.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 12,264 fires in 2021, including 2,082 structure fires, 316 vehicle fires and 9,866 outside and other fires. These fires caused 29 civilian injuries and $59 million in direct property damage.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal encourages everyone to let the professionals handle fireworks. They note that sparklers account for the greatest number of fireworks injuries, and often to the youngest victims.

As communities around the state prepare to celebrate the holiday with a fireworks display, a recent grass fire during a HomerFest fireworks display in Homer Glen may be a sign that there needs to be extra caution this year when dealing with pyrotechnics.

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