Firefighters warn residents about the dangers of fireworks
We're just two days away from the 4th of July, and if you plan to set off fireworks this week, firefighters are warning you to be careful.
The conditions outside are ripe for starting fires, and those fires can move quickly in dry brush.
Today, we went out with some firefighters to shoot off fireworks and see how fast they could really catch something else on fire, and it didn't take long to see flames.
Fireworks may be small and fun, but they can cause some huge damage.
This afternoon, firefighters from Benton County set off a couple fireworks in a controlled area to show how fast the sparks could catch something on fire.
Within seconds of setting one off, flames covered some brush and quickly spread from there.
"Once it starts up and goes, it's gone. And it's very hard to keep up with" said Cpt. Devin Helland, Benton County Fire District #1.
Fire crews set off some less potent firecrackers too, and the same thing happened - fire covered the area almost immediately.
It was caused by the burning fuse.
"As soon as the fire hits it, people think they may have time to go get a hose, turn it on and all that. And as you see on the clip there, you really don't have that much time" said Helland.
Firefighters say even with all the rain we've had here over the past couple weeks, the sagebrush and grass is still very dry.
In fact, they say the only thing the rain did was help the grass grow taller.
"Yeah, it's like a tinderbox out here" said Helland.
Firefighters say if you plan to shoot of some fireworks, make sure they're legal where you are.
And also have a running hose and a bucket of water nearby, so more than one person can help put out any fires if one starts.
"A little common sense and we all want you to have a safe and happy 4th of July" said Helland.
Firefighters even admit with dry conditions like this, it can even be hard for them to keep up with fires.
They say if you plan to set any fireworks off, you should stay away from dry areas, and set them off on gravel, concrete, or wet, green grass.
Fireworks are illegal in Kennewick, Pasco, Prosser, Connell, Yakima, Franklin County and unincorporated parts of Yakima County.