Firework-related fires spike during holiday weekend

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The 4th of July weekend is nearly here.

This year America’s birthday will take a strange turn when it comes to COVID-19, making it impossible to gather for firework shows. Many already have been cancelled or postponed.

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The Wilmington Fire Departments Community Risk Reduction Coordinator Wendy Giannini-King said this could cause an uptick in firework celebrations at home.

“I am expecting that there will be people using fireworks in their driveways, in their yard that maybe would have ventured downtown or gone to another show to see them,” King said. “I am concerned that firework use at home, consumer fireworks is going to go up this year.”

King expressed how she hopes not to exceed the number of fires from the past few years that may have been related to fireworks around this time.

“2018 we had three fires, 2017 nine fires, 2019 eight fires, and 2020 is yet to be written,” King said.

The booming sounds could also affect veterans and even pets.

Eastern Carolina Veterinary Referral Emergency Veterinarian Christina Landers said the loud noises and vibrations cause anxiety.

“A lot of it is noise related. A lot of these dogs are terrified during thunderstorms, but fireworks are even more than that.”

Landers said owners should prepare their animals in advance.

“If you have any prescription, anxiety medications prescribed by your veterinarian to get those now and get them on board about two hours before the start of any firework event.

Landers said owners should not walk their dogs during fireworks or leave them unattended outside.

“If they do well in crates, just try to keep them crated.”

And a gentle reminder, fireworks that leave the ground are not allowed in the state of North Carolina. That includes firecrackers, fireworks that spin on the ground, roman candles and bottle rockets.

All of those forms are not permitted.

You are also advised to wear masks. Practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings if you do set off your own fireworks.