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Drought ignites fireworks cautions

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POSTED: July 17, 2007 5:02 a.m.
Despite some welcome rain across the state, virtually all of Georgia remains in the grip of a drought that remains a threat to public safety.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency urges the public to use caution as they enjoy their summer recreation and celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
One of the most serious holiday threats is the use of fireworks — both legal and illegal.
Most fireworks are illegal and should not be brought into the state and discharged. Legal non-explosive devices and sparklers, meanwhile, should be used with great caution, if at all because one stray spark can ignite a major fire.
“We have recently experienced the worst wildfire in Georgia’s history and we are extremely vulnerable because of the lack of rain and the low humidity,” GEMA Director Charley English, said.
Campfires and cookouts that are not closely monitored and cigarette butts carelessly tossed out the car window are also a threat. The Georgia Forestry Commission is denying burn permits in a number of counties.
Recent rains have provided welcome relief, particularly in areas of east, southeast and south-central Georgia, but the rainfall has not occurred statewide and has not been enough to alleviate extreme drought conditions. Over the last two weeks, many areas that received these rains have since had less than 60 percent of normal rainfall, according to State Climatologist David Stooksbury.
“In the long run, there is a good chance the recent rains may be just a blip in the continuing drought,” said Stooksbury, who notes as a whole, the drought continues to slowly worsen statewide.
Virtually all of Georgia’s counties are classified as being in either extreme or severe drought.
 

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