Dry Conditions Could Cancel Fourth of July Fireworks

Dry weather is putting Chicago suburbs at a greater fire risk during Fourth of July fireworks

By Alexandria Fisher
|  Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012  |  Updated 1:19 PM CDT
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Web Weather: Friday, June 22

Dry times in Illinois could put Fourth of July firework shows on standby.

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Web Weather: Friday, June 22

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If temperatures soar into triple digits Thursday in Chicago, dry conditions could keep next week’s Fourth of July fireworks from making a bang.

Most suburban towns have not yet canceled holiday plans for the dry weather, but municipalities are increasing the number of fire experts and personnel to keep dry brush from igniting.

In Park Ridge, the fire department is monitoring dry conditions to decide whether their popular fireworks show can go on. Fire Chief Michael Zywanski told NBC Chicago "excessively dry" conditions could bring the fireworks display to halt.

They're not the only ones.

The village and park district of Tinley Park added a $3,700 rental fee to fireworks expenses for irrigation equipment to help water down firework landing sites, according to Park and Recreations Director John Curran.

The 118-head sprinkler draws water from the nearby lake and pumps it to the driest ground. The park district began watering the area at 7 a.m. Monday and will continue to water for 12 hours daily until the firework show.  

The dry air and hot temps currently flooding the state could make for combustible grounds and fire departments worry about risks as residents ignite sparklers and smoke bombs or even at-home fireworks, Tinley Park Fire Chief Ken Dunn told the Chicago Tribune.

Drought rates for Illinois have more than doubled since last week to nearly 70 percent of the state declared in drought status, a title that was obsolete at this time last year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“It’s just going to get more and more dry as we move into July and August,” said state climatologist Jim Angel.

Though light showers are forecasted for the weekend, the National Weather Service reports scorching temps are expected to rise during upcoming months and little to no rain is predicted to counteract the heat. That forecast would put Illinois further into drought debt.

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