Local fire chiefs team up to issue fireworks warning - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local fire chiefs team up to issue fireworks warning

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KENNEWICK, WA. -- Fire chiefs around the Tri-Cities felt so compelled to warn people about upcoming weather conditions, that they teamed up to call their own press conference Thursday.

Four fire chiefs from around the region teamed up Thursday to warn people about fireworks this 4th of July weekend. They say resources will be stretched thin and one mistake could cause serious damage.

In attendance was Chief Tom Huntington from the Richland Fire Department, Chief Bill Whealan from Benton County Fire District 4, Chief Lonnie Click from Benton County Fire District 1, and Operations Chief Neil Hines from the City of Kennewick. More chiefs would have been there if not for some local fires Thursday afternoon. 

All the chiefs who attended agreed that wind will be a huge factor this weekend when gusts are expected to be 10-12 miles per hour.

"This weekend we're predicted to have some wind events," Operations Chief Neil Hines for the City of Kennewick Fire Department said. "Bad time to be lighting off fireworks obviously going to carry, land on a roof, or in arborvitaes and start a problem for us."

"We're really setting ourselves up to where, if the fire occurs in the right place, it can be a pretty significant event for us," Chief Lonnie Click from Benton County Fire District 1 said. 

"And if they need us, give us a call, we'll be there," Chief Bill Whealan from Benton County Fire District 4 said. "But don't hesitate on calling that's one of the other big things, because the longer it takes us to get there, the bigger the fire gets and it's a lot harder for us to contain. The sooner you call the better."

The fire chiefs do believe fireworks, legal ones, depending on your community, can be safe when used properly. It's when people misuse those fireworks that problems start.

They also urge people to go to community fireworks shows to enjoy some fireworks such as the River of Fire Festival in Kennewick, the 4th of July Celebration at State Fair Park in Yakima, and the Grand Old 4th of July Celebration in Pasco.     
 

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