SPOONERS, Wis. – Each year, especially during the summer holiday, the use of both legal and illegal fireworks are the cause of wildfires in Wisconsin. State forestry officials are cautioning that m any parts of northern Wisconsin continue to experience below normal rainfall and any spark that falls on dry grass or fuels may cause a fire that will be difficult to suppress because of the dry vegetation.
Precipitation records since 2004 show many areas to be 20 to 35 inches behind normal rain and snowfall for this period. Obvious signs of this dryness are the low lake levels.
“Fireworks create a significant risk of forest fires each year in Wisconsin,” said Department of Natural Resources Forestry Supervisor Mike Luedeke. Restricted fireworks are much more likely to cause a forest fire or injury because they often are larger, are launched into the air, and used by persons not trained to handle these products.”
Since many of the restricted fireworks are of the airborne variety, often the wildfire ignition can be far away from the site that the fireworks are being used. It is unlawful to possess restricted fireworks, which are defined as those that move, jump, explode or emit balls of fire and include such types as bottle rockets, firecrackers, jumping jacks and roman candles. These fireworks can only be used with a permit issued by local authorities as designated in Wisconsin statutes.
Luedeke said anyone using legal fireworks should do so only in a clear area away from buildings, vehicles and shrubbery and they should have water or a fire extinguisher handy. He added that use of fireworks do cause injuries each year and should be done under close adult supervision.
“We advise that fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays be left up to professionals,” he said.