While we’re talking about fireworks … even if you don’t use them, someone else might set them off near your house or apartment. On the Fourth of July last year, fireworks sparked a large fire at the foot of Gatewood Hill:
That was a photo we took from our car as we happened onto the scene shortly after the fire at California/Myrtle had started, even before SFD arrived. The memory is fresh for local firefighters, too. We asked the Seattle Fire Department about prevention advice – in addition to “Don’t use fireworks” – and here’s what SFD public educator William Mace offered:
Every year, the personal use of fireworks cause fires and injures people in the Seattle area. Last year, the Seattle Fire Department responded to 16 fireworks-related fires including two structure fires. One significant fire happened on July 4, 2020 in West Seattle where fireworks ignited dry brush in front of a four-story apartment building which then quickly extended to the top floor balcony.
Fortunately, no one was injured, but several residents were displaced and the total estimated loss was $100,000.
The recent hot, dry weather significantly increases the risk for dry grass, bark, and brush fires. A firework can easily start a fire in these conditions.
Here are ways to reduce fires caused by fireworks near your home:
Remove branches, dry grass and anything that can burn from around your home.
Make sure tree branches are not touching your home.
Clear roof and gutters of evergreen needles and leaves.
Don’t leave cardboard or loose paper recyclables outside – make sure they are in a closed bin.
Keep a garden hose with nozzle hooked up and ready to use.
Also, make sure smoke alarms are working by pushing the test button.
If you experience a fire, please call 9-1-1 immediately after you are in a safe location away from the fire.
Two years ago, in unincorporated King County, a fireworks user started a two-house fire that killed a man.