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Winter Firework Dangers

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Fireworks for many people around the state are a tradition to help ring in the New Year. But this year there is a heightened danger due to the lack of rain over the summer.

"Everyone knows our grass was extremely dry this summer and fall and we still had a small amount of rain, but that dries out really quickly. We could still have a fire spread across a field,” said Harold Timmerman, Coordinator for Lincoln County Emergency Management.
You may think there is no danger shooting off fireworks now that some sort of precipitation is on the ground, but Timmerman said that’s not the case.
"Companies have dug down 12 feet and can't find moisture in the ground,” said Timmerman.

He said no matter what season, the dry ground coupled with the constant wind South Dakota is known for, is a dangerous combination when it comes to lighting off fireworks.

“Any kind of an aerial, fireworks display, you need to be very concerned about the wind. Also where any of those bottle rockets, type of aerial thing could end up,” said Timmerman.

He warns that people should make sure they are far away enough from homes, or any other type of building.

But Timmerman said shooting off fireworks during the winter, could not only pose a threat to the area around you, but also to you or whoever is shooting off a firework.

“You've got heavy gloves on, so you could easily start those on fire with what ever you are using to set of the fireworks,” said Timmerman.

He also said to remove anything that hangs, like a scarf for example that could also catch on fire. But Timmerman said the biggest thing to remember while ringing in the New Year with fireworks is to use common sense.

“Stop and think about what could happen before you light fireworks,” said Timmerman.

And hopefully no one will have to spend the beginning of 2013 in the emergency room.

 Fireworks will begin being sold around the Sioux Empire starting Friday. You can also start shooting off fireworks Friday until midnight Jan. 1.

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