Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kansas urging caution with fireworks amid drought

July 4, 2012


— Independence Day in Kansas promises to be scorching hot, dry and windy, leading state officials to post burn bans across about half the state and ask residents to take extra care with those celebratory bottle rockets and barbecues.

“From small yards to large crop fields and pastures, our state is very dry, which has increased the threat of uncontrolled fire,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said in a statement Tuesday. “It only takes a small spark to ignite a large fire so we strongly urge Kansans to be very careful and take extra precautions this year.”

Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that 36 counties are in drought emergency, 55 counties are in drought warning status and 14 are in watch status. The National Weather Service says the prolonged heat wave will linger, with triple-digit temperatures and no chance of rain expected in Kansas for the rest of the week. Temperatures were forecast to be in the upper 90s and lower 100s, with heat indices ranging between 100 and 105.

“Below normal precipitation patterns are not only depleting available soil moisture, but these types of conditions have resulted in numerous fires as well,” Brownback said in a statement.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture said nearly half the state’s 105 counties have banned burning because of drought conditions. Rodman also said the U.S. Fire Administration has recommended public fireworks displays over individual, private displays.

“Given the high winds, excessive heat and lack of precipitation we’ve been experiencing statewide, all Kansans need to be very careful this Fourth of July,” Rodman said.

Some cities, however, have not banned private fireworks displays, despite the dry conditions. The Hutchinson News reported that both Hutchinson and Reno County have so far declined to ban or put any restrictions on fireworks this week.

“There have not been a lot of complaints and few fires,” Reno County Administrator Gary Meagher told the Reno County Commission Tuesday. “I’ve not had more than a few calls, and there’s only been two fires, right outside the city limits.”

Officials in Garden City, located in southwest Kansas, one of the driest sections of the state, said while they haven’t banned fireworks, they’re concerned about the possibility of fires caused by Fourth of July celebrations, the Garden City Telegram reported. Residents in Garden City are allowed to discharge fireworks from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, according to city laws.

Commissioner Roman Halbur said he would like Finney County to consider adopting standard criteria for future Fourth of July holidays.

“I think we made a big mistake in authorizing aerial fireworks,” Halbur said at the commissioners meeting Monday. “My gut feeling is that if we fight this every year, we ought to put some criteria down. If we’re not in the vicinity of 2 to 4 inches of above-normal rainfall by June, we should never allow fireworks in western Kansas.”


Bobby Burch 5 years, 10 months ago

Ottawa/ Franklin County had a big prairie fire today:

kernal 5 years, 10 months ago

And, that fire was caused by someone shooting firecrackers.

Bobby Burch 5 years, 10 months ago

Yep, someone shot of a firework despite the county having a burn ban ... now 40 acres gone.

gr 5 years, 10 months ago

I saw some other posts about how these raging prairie fires would get us all. Not many prairies left around Lawrence. As far as this one goes, I'm not sure you could call 40 acres a "big" fire, and what makes you think it is a prairie? Nothing said about prairie. It did say field and hay. First guess is it's brome. Or make that, was brome.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

I plan to spend the next 48 hours or so on my porch in a lawn chair, with a beer in one hand and the garden hose in the other.

kernal 5 years, 10 months ago

Fireworks were plentiful in town last night and i reckon they will be again tonight.

Maybe LJW should have advised the population what the penalties will be is someone starts a fire with their fireworks. One of my neighbors said he's not worried because the neighbors insurance companies would take care of it. He hadn't considered possible arson charges.

Katara 5 years, 10 months ago

Obviously he hadn't considered that his neighbors' insurance companies would go after him for damages if it was determined that the fire resulted from his actions.

workinghard 5 years, 10 months ago

Maybe they should have a police officer walking the levee in North Lawrence tonight. Always a lot of fireworks being shot off while the show is on.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

I love shooting off fireworks but it just seems pretty irresponsible to be shooting them off this year and risking burning a house down. A little common sense goes a long way. But then again, that's asking too much from a lot of people.

50YearResident 5 years, 10 months ago

A reminder for those of you shooting your own fireworks tonight in the rural areas of the county. If your fireworks start an uncontrolled fire you will be liable for damages to property of others that is burned by the fire. Grass and timber is the driest I have seen it for many years. The winds tonight can spread a fire in the county faster than it can be contained by the fire department. Think about the effects your fireworks can do to your neighbors before you shoot aireal fireworks.

tir 5 years, 10 months ago

The pyromaniac denizens of Oread were shooting off fireworks sporadically all last night. This morning as I was watering in advance of today's inevitable artillery barrage, I heard a string of firecrackers going off somewhere west of 14th and Vermont. That was before 6 AM. I hope the culprit's neighbors had some choice words with him. (Unless of course they were in on it).

All quiet now, as the miscreants are getting their beauty sleep. Doubtlessly they will re-emerge in the afternoon to fire up the grills, broach the kegs, and begin the main assault, which will likely continue through the weekend, especially during the wee hours, just a bang or two per hour to make sure no one gets any rest.

Just another Happy Fourth in Lawrence. I hope no one's house burns down. Especially mine.

kernal 5 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like you need a fog horn for that early morning wake up call so they can get to class on time.

Jeff Bandle 5 years, 10 months ago

We had our celebration with family on private property out of town yesterday and because of the draught we limited our fireworks to very basic, low level items that would be easier to control. Even then, we still had to be very diligent as several very small brush fires started by accident. Please, be careful and exercise some restraint this is so, so dry.

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

I've been in a lot of places on and around July 4 and Lawrence is by far the very worst. The noise starts around the middle of June and continues through the middle of July, often until 4:00 in the morning. If I left town, I left my water hose out and my neighbor would inspect around my house to make sure there were no fires smoldering.

The whole state is a tinder box and a small spark can become a raging fire very quickly. Do people really think that insurance will/can pay for everything lost?

Please be careful.

msezdsit 5 years, 10 months ago

Lots of fireworks around my house last night. The hole street was so full of spent fireworks that it seemed like I was driving on gravel road. Went on for a long time and no police showed up to my knowledge. The smoke was so thick it made visibility difficult not to mention just breathing. Another round tonight. Hope there are no injuries or fires. Here's to hoping!!!!!

irvan moore 5 years, 10 months ago

it's interesting that while we have laws against shooting fireworks in town the police department chooses to not enforce them

DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

Someday FHNC, you'll post something that makes sense. Regression to the mean, law of averages, you'll get there.

kernal 5 years, 10 months ago

Fire in central Topeka this afternoon caused by a roman candle landing in or near an alley, bushes caught fire and it spread to an apartment building.

Considering that Topeka has had more rain than Lawrence....

50YearResident 5 years, 10 months ago

Current conditions at 3:45 pm, July 4th, wind 18 mph with gusts to 30 mph, humidity 27%. Temperature 101. This is extremely bad conditions for fire hazards. The question is, will the Fire Departments be able to keep up with potential fireworks related fires?

engagedecoy 5 years, 10 months ago

Fireworks galore near K-10 and Wakarusa. Not a cop in sight.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

Police scanner is fairly active tonight, with a variety of calls, including fireworks. If you feel they are being threatening, call it in. Police don't just magically show up.

tomcats 5 years, 10 months ago

Seen three different grass fire's tonight with smoke bombs. Not safe to shoot anything!!

riverdrifter 5 years, 10 months ago

From the Dodge City of fireworks, Baldwin, no fire runs today that I know of.

Anthony Mall 5 years, 10 months ago

Same people won't pay taxes for more cops yet complain about lack of police responding to fireworks??? sounds about right for the hypocrites in Lawrence

Steve Stucky 5 years, 10 months ago

I was walking downtown lawrence today and was wishing ljw would have cautioned people in lawrence to WEAR DEODERANT!!!

lily 5 years, 10 months ago

I know the police are busy and we all feel they aren't doing enough. I've complained about the really loud ones that rattle the windows in the wee hours and have gotten responses that either they are too busy or they've been warned. I do hope that police quit giving warnings and serve the fines. It's illegal, it's dangerous and if there is no common sense, they can fork over a lot of cents in exchange. I'm all for having fun but I'm tired of those who don't follow the rules especially when it's so hazardous.

Judgement_Angel 5 years, 10 months ago

Officers don't want to go through the hassle to write a ticket that isn't going to pass in court. There is no way that you can give a ticket to a group of people shooting fireworks off unless the officer has visual proof on who ignited the fireworks. If not giving a ticket to the whole group or just a random person in the group will just be dropped in court. Again what proof do they have that person did it? NONE!

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