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Record heat and a severe drought have officials a bit uneasy with fireworks surely to fill the skies over the Independence Day Holiday.
Hopefully, the sky is all they will fill.
Concerned with the dry conditions across the county, officials are urging Coffee County residents to use precaution when launching fireworks into the sky throughout the week.
“We are urging citizens to take precautions,” said Coffee County Emergency Management Agency Director Allen Lendley.
“The main thing is, people need to use common sense. Wet down the area you will shoot [fireworks] and keep a hose handy … grass fires can get out of hand pretty quick as dry as it is.”
Volunteer fire departments across the county have seen first hand how fast simple brush fires can get out of control over the past week. From Monday, June 25, through Sunday, July 2, a total of 10 brush fires have been dispatched to various volunteer fire departments, according to the Coffee County Communications Center.
“The Boynton Valley fire was tough,” said North Coffee Volunteer Fire Chief Leon Arnold, speaking about the Thursday afternoon fire that engulfed a mobile home. “We needed all the help we could get.”
Residents living in the county are still permitted to burn brush, according to the Tennessee Department of Forestry, although extreme caution is urged under such dry conditions. So far, 27 counties have a burn ban issued by the department of forestry – Coffee County is not one of them.
Meanwhile, burn bans have been issued for Manchester and Tullahoma residents. Fireworks are still permitted in both cities.
“I wish people wouldn’t shoot [fireworks] at all as dry as it is but they will,” said Manchester Fire Department Captain Charlie Taylor. “I hope people are very careful. Don’t shoot them at people and don’t have bottle-rocket wars like young boys like to do.
“People should also watch where they shoot them. If at all possible, wet the ground around where you are going to launch them. It would be good to keep a water hose or a bucket of water handy in case some grass does catch fire so it can be put out before it gets out of control.
“It’s a pretty holiday,” added Taylor, “but we don’t’ want anyone to get hurt or anything burned.”
The City of Manchester started taking precautions for its fireworks extravaganza last week by wetting the ground around the launch area with a fire truck.
“We will also have a fire truck present at the show,” said Manchester Mayor Betty Superstein.
The fireworks show put on by the city will begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday.