Let's acknowledge something from the start.
We're going to ask you not to use fireworks this Independence Day. And many of you will totally ignore it.
Just on the small hope that someone will be swayed, however, we strongly urge parents to resist the whining from junior and leave the Fourth fireworks to the professionals.
It's not just us:
- The National Fire Protection Association last week blamed fireworks for starting more fires on Independence Day than all other causes - combined.
- The Georgia Forestry Commission says more than two dozen wildfires in the state were sparked last year by fireworks - a problem that likely will be worse this year because of the ongoing drought.
- Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine quotes Centers for Disease Control statistics noting that one-third of all fireworks-related deaths and injuries occur during the Independence Day holiday. That's significant, because in 2006 there were 11 deaths and 9,200 people treated in emergency rooms because of fireworks.
Most fireworks are still illegal for consumer use in Georgia, but that does little to slow the holiday stream of lawbreaking travelers crossing the South Carolina border to stock up. It doesn't help that local cops nonchalantly tolerate illegal fireworks.
And even the small, legal fireworks can be dangerous: Oxendine points out that sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees. That's hotter than a cattle-branding iron.
Our community is absolutely blessed with spectacular professional fireworks shows: Fort Gordon on Thursday, Patriots Park on Friday and Little River Marina on Saturday, among others, will light up the skies during the holiday weekend.
Please: Enjoy the shows. But leave fireworks to professionals.
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