theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

June 29, 2011

Make it a fire-free Fourth

Lone Beasley Publisher
Ada Evening News

Ada —  

Last year at this time Ada was in the enviable position of practically being awash in precipitation, comparatively speaking. At the end of June 2010 with about 50 percent of the year gone we had already received almost 65 percent of our average annual rainfall. The aquifer was saturated, grass was growing green, and even the Canadian River looked like more than a dry gulch. 

Last year’s July 4th fireworks display at Wintersmith Park had to be rescheduled almost a week later due to continuous rain.

 What a difference a year makes. With half of 2011 in the books, Ada’s total rainfall is currently just under 12 inches, not even a third of our expected average yearly total. It is dry, dry, dry in Pontotoc County.

 Local fire departments know too well fireworks and dry conditions mix about as well as drinking and driving. The results can be disastrous. Though fireworks weren’t to blame in wildfires running amok in Arizona and New Mexico, they offer a great object lesson in what can happen when parched vegetation combines with a renegade spark.

 This has not escaped the attention of Pontotoc County commissioners and Chad Letellier, county emergency management director. Letellier said three local fires in the past couple of weeks have been caused by fireworks.

 Nevertheless, county commissioners have decided to hold off on implementing a burn ban, at least through the holiday weekend, to allow revelers to pop fireworks.

That being the case, it is important for the rest of us to be aware and watchful of potential pyrotechnic danger. Fireworksafety.com advises keeping water handy at all times and lighting only one firework at a time.

 Let’s all have a safe and happy fire-free July 4th!

— Loné Beasley