Firefighters ready for holiday as National Weather Service issues fire weather warning
WEST RICHLAND, Wash. —
You can't start a fire without a spark and there will be plenty of those Wednesday with many people setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July.
Much of the grass in Benton and Franklin counties is dry and brown and as Benton County Fire District 4 Capt. Tom Harper put it, ready to go up in flames.
"They say structures fires can double in size every minute and it seems like wildland fires go even faster."
Now there's another reason to be on guard.
The National Weather Service upgraded a Fire Weather Watch issued for the holiday to a Red Flag Warning.
Any fires that start will likely spread rapidly thanks to low humidity and gusty winds and it only takes a second for a stray spark from a firework to cause a lot of destruction.
"Everything is going to be like a perfect storm of just fire weather, so hopefully people are safe and responsible,” says Capt. Harper.
He asks everyone to be responsible while lighting fireworks, making sure to keep water nearby and follow safety precautions and laws.
However, if it gets windy, he asks people not to light off any of their fireworks. Instead save them for a safer time.
As for BCFD 4, working Independence Day is a day they're prepared for.
"All of our career staff and volunteers are invited into the station, so we'll have hopefully 20 to 30 people here standing by. So it shouldn't be a problem getting trucks out on the road and just hope it's not one of those nights that we go from fire to fire to fire."
This red flag warning runs Wednesday from 1 to 10 P.M. for portions of eastern Washington and Oregon.