Fire danger increases to "Very High" as legal fireworks go on sa - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire danger increases to "Very High" as legal fireworks go on sale

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WEST RICHLAND, WA. -- It's almost 4th of July weekend and that means fireworks. A new law in West Richland though, could affect your future firework celebrations.

This week, the West Richland City Council voted to give Mayor Brent Gerry the power to ban the use of legal fireworks during extreme fire emergencies. 

It's fields of dry brush just like this one in West Richland that worries our regions firefighter this coming 4th of July. We even talked to someone on Twitter who said since legal fireworks went on sale Tuesday at noon, someone was already illegally lighting them off in Pasco last night as our region's fire danger increase some high to very high.

It's the time of year to stock up for your 4th of July celebration. 

"The nice thing about this is it is actually has the show on the side of the box so you can see what it will do before you even purchase it," Stan Johnson said. 

Stan Johnson has seen his fair share of fireworks. 

"My family has actually been doing this for 20-years," Johnson said. 

No matter what the conditions are each year, Stan always leaves his customer will some advice when they buy. 

"We talk about things like keeping buckets of water available," Johnson said. "If you're using mortars, put them on a solid foundation. Don't put them in the yard you don't want them tipping over."

On Tuesday, our region's fire danger increased. Firefighters say tall, dry brush can be found all over. 

"Well you can see that the tops are really dry here and they just kind of flake off," Chief Bill Wheelan from Benton County Fire District 4 said. "That means it's getting to that point where it's really receptive to fire."

Chief Bill Wheelan says all it takes is a strong wind for a fire to take off. 

"Any time you look at brush, the rule of thumb for it is if you see brush at this height, (the flames) can grow three times that high," Chief Wheelan said. 

Chief Wheelan is dedicated to keeping West Richland safe. July 4th is his anniversary but you wont find him at any fancy restaurants. He'll be out hunting fires.

"Yeah I get up at a tall vantage point," Chief Wheelan said. "I actually go to the top of Flattop Hill and I sit up there and when I sit on the top of Flattop Hill then I can see the area."

This 4th, listen to the advice from the experts. 

"If the weather conditions aren't conducive, just don't do it," Johnson said. "Fireworks aren't perishable, you can use them next year you can use them the year after."

"Keep adult supervision when there's kids around so that we don't have any injuries and we hope everybody has a great safe 4th," Chief Wheelan said. 

That way you can avoid disaster while having some fun this Independence Day.

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