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Like fireworks? Attend a show; don't set them off, officials say

Statement as issued Tuesday:

INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the Fort Wayne Fire Department remind Hoosiers that lingering hot, dry conditions are increasing the fire risk in Indiana.

"Hot temperatures are aggravating already dry conditions," says Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. "Much of the grass and vegetation throughout the state is primed to quickly grow a small spark into a large fire.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is a division of IDHS.

While some areas of the state saw a little rain this weekend, extremely dry conditions persist. Brief rainfall is not enough to make up for the earlier dry spell and Hoosiers must continue to exercise great care to prevent devastating fires.

In Allen County, a countywide burn ban remains in effect. The Board of Commissioners voted June 29, to continue the burn ban curtailing camp fires and bonfires and added further restrictions to include consumer fireworks.

"The private use of fireworks by individuals has been restricted as part of the countywide burn ban in place this week," says Jim Murua, Fort Wayne Fire Department's Assistant Chief and Fire Marshall.

Residents wishing to partake in firework festivities should plan to attend one of the local professional fireworks shows in the area.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department has been working with city officials to ensure IPFW's fireworks shows and other permitted shows are able to happen this 4th of July. Conditions are constantly monitored and safety precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors during these permitted shows.

84 out of Indiana's 92 counties remain under burn bans and numerous counties are urging residents to refrain from using fireworks. Updated information about county burn bans and local fireworks restrictions is available at dhs.in.gov under "Topics of the day."

In an average year there are more fires on July 4 than on any other day of the year. This year, because of current dry conditions, the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is urgently appealing to all Hoosiers to use extra caution in all aspects of their Independence Day festivities.

Outdoor cooking safety

It is also important that Hoosiers consult with local officials regarding what burn bans are in effect, and whether or not outdoor grilling is permitted.

General grilling safety tips include:

Keep grills clean by removing grease or fat buildup.

Never leave an outdoor charcoal or gas grill unattended.

The grill should be placed well away from the home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Avoid placing the grill on dry grass, leaves, or near shrubs or mulched areas.

Consider wetting down the area around your grill and have a water source readily available in case a fire is accidentally ignited.

When finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before placing in a metal container.

Hot weather safety

As temperatures remain in the high 90s, Hoosiers are reminded to take precautions to limit prolonged exposure to high outdoor temperatures.

"High temperatures can be especially dangerous for children and the elderly. Anyone hosting Independence Day celebrations should make sure there are places available for guests to shelter themselves from the heat and rehydrate," says Greeson.

Drinking plenty of water, resting in air conditioning, wearing sunscreen and loose-fitting clothing are just some of the ways to combat the heat.

Visit GetPrepared.in.gov for more extreme heat and other dry weather related safety tips.

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