BELOIT—With dry conditions persisting in the Beloit area and across Wisconsin, the Beloit Fire Department wants to remind residents to use legal fireworks safely and take the the drought into consideration.
Beloit is down around 3.25 inches of rain this year compared to normal years, according to data from the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The National Drought Mitigation Center lists Rock County as experiencing a level of severe drought.
Even with high drought conditions, the fire risk listed for Rock County is low, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the reading takes into consideration multiple factors like humidity levels, the amount of time without rain and combined with sustained temperatures over a period of days.
Citing NOAA data, Beloit Deputy Fire Chief Joe Murray said this year was the 12th driest year on record in the last 127 years.
“Obviously that’s concerning for us and it’s something we are watching right now,” Murray said.
In 2020, when the city’s annual fireworks display was canceled due to COVID-19, the fire department responded to a total of eight incidents where fires were started by fireworks.
Murray said the department typically sees small brush fires and trash fires that are started when residents improperly disposing of still-smoldering fireworks canisters.
“We urge people to practice safe, good common sense fireworks safety,” Murray said. “We want people to use extreme caution during these dry conditions. Be respectful of your neighbors and use good, common sense.”
Fireworks that fly or explode are prohibited in the city. Things like sparklers, fountains and other ground-base displays are permitted.
The city is hosting a fireworks display at Pohlman Field in partnership with the Beloit Snappers and will feature a performance by the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra.
• Never allow young children to handle fireworks—Including sparklers
• Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
• Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
• Never light fireworks indoors
• Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person
• Never ignite devices in a container
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
• Soak both used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
• Never use illegal fireworks
• Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
• Obey all local laws- In Beloit only class III fireworks are allowed.
• Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands. Place fireworks on the ground before lighting to avoid accidental hand burns or dropping the firework
• Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting. Do not light fireworks in windy conditions that can affect how the sparks fly.