By Annie Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tri-cities are under high alert for dry conditions heading into the holiday celebrations. With firework festivities set to begin Saturday across the state, fire chiefs warn the danger of disaster is as close as your backyard.
With the lighting of any firework, you have the makings of devastation. "We've had one or two already and firework season has just begun," said Tim Hiemer, with Grand Island's Fire Department.
Two grass fires, he said. Crews are now left hoping what's happening in the panhandle doesn't spread with the spark of celebration.
"It has been very hot, very dry, and conditions are ripe for grass fires," said Hiemer. "Structures catching on fire, homes, fields catching on fire, we have dry conditions right now and we always have wind in Nebraska," seconded Ron Zook, with Grand Island's Fire Department.
Hastings and Kearney share Grand Island's fear, both cities calling their conditions as close to a red flag warning as you can get. "We're at a moderate to severe risk," said Zook.
With this risk, comes further precautions they said. "People need to use common sense," urged Zook. That means don't think a bucket of water is enough. Kearney's Fire Department recommends soaking the entire yard before light off and to keep the area clear.
"Watch out for trees, even though they're green, they're dry and can start on fire," said Hiemer. A fire, said Zook, just like one that could happen to your home if firework disposal isn't done safely.
"Make sure you don't put them in a garbage can by your house without putting water on them," he said. Water, the key ingredient Nebraska is lacking but making all the difference between a safe celebration and a devastating fire heading into this holiday week.