The risk of accidental fires in Lubbock or on the South Plains from fireworks is down this year but still an issue.
Ron McQueen from the Lubbock office of the National Weather Service says “This year in comparison we’ve essentially erased most all of the drought conditions. Not only in the South Plains but for most of the state, other than parts of South Texas.”
This means that our fuels are not as dry as they have been in previous years, lessening our chances of fires spreading quickly. However, just because we are not in a drought, doesn’t mean there are not dry areas. You should still try to avoid such areas when it comes to setting off fireworks this year.
McQueen did caution “There are areas of the Southwestern South Plains that have been below normal for the last 30 to 60 days so those places very well could be seeing dryer grasses and are more at risk for wildfire starts.”
This risk is highest for the folks in Hockley and Terry counties. The other main factor that we worry about when it comes to fires igniting on the south plains is the weather.
The forecast calls for hot temperatures in the low 90’s, breezy conditions, and a chance of early morning and late evening thunderstorms which means lighting is possible. While we will have a higher relative humidity, which helps deter fires from starting, all the other weather triggers are present this holiday weekend.
Dr. Beth Nickels of Covenant Medical Center says “You definitely need to be aware of where the flames may go. Most commonly the accidents are from being foolish, getting too brave or not backing up quickly enough from the fireworks.”
It is best to just leave it to the professionals, but if you do choose to play with fireworks this weekend, make sure to be doing it away from grassy areas and always have water nearby to put it out if a fire does ignite.