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Aerial fireworks are an example of illegal fireworks unless a person has a license to use them. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Use caution when lighting fireworks this weekend

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If planning to use fireworks this weekend, be careful and make sure the conditions aren't unfavorable.

Park Rapids Fire Chief Donn Hoffman said people should make sure not to light fireworks if it's windy because it could be a fire hazard.

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"If it's dry and unfavorable, it could start a fire," he said. "We've had fire calls that were a result of fireworks."

There have been cases of fires in ditches that came from someone throwing fireworks out a car window.

According to the State Fire Marshal, 57 people were injured from fireworks in June and July last year. The number was done from 67 in 2007 and 64 in 2008.

Of those injured in 2009, 79 percent were male and 21 percent were female, according to the State Fire Marshal.

For those interested in using consumer fireworks, the following safety measured are recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

n Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances.

n Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision.

n Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.

n Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off.

n Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

n Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

n Never ignite fireworks in a container.

n Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.

n Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.

n Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.

n Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.

Examples of legal fireworks:

n Wire or wood sparklers of not more than 100 grams of mixture per item

Other sparkling items which are non-explosive and non-aerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical mixture per tube or a total of 500 grams or less for multiple tubes and include:

n Cylindrical fountain - Upon ignition, a shower of colored sparks or smoke and sometimes a whistling effect is produced.

n Cone fountain - The effect is the same as that of a cylindrical fountain. When more than 1 cone is mounted on a common base, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed 500 grams

n Illuminating torch

n Wheel - Pyrotechnic device intended to be attached to a post or tree by means of a nail or string. Upon ignition, the wheel revolves, producing a shower of color and sparks and, sometimes, a whistling effect.

n Ground spinner - Small device venting out an orifice usually on the side of the tube. Similar in operation to a wheel but intended to be placed flat on the ground and ignited. The rapidly spinning device produces a shower of sparks and color.

n Flitter sparkler - Narrow paper tube attached to a stick or wire that produces color and sparks upon ignition. The paper at one end of the tube is ignited to make the device function.

n Flash/strobe - Emit a bright light

Novelty items such as snakes and glow worms, smoke devices, or trick noisemakers, which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops, each consisting of not more than 25 hundredths grains of explosive mixture.

Examples of illegal fireworks:

n Any fireworks that are explosive

n Any fireworks that are aerial

n Firecrackers (any size)

n Ladyfingers

n Sky rockets

n Bottle rockets

n Missile type rockets

n Helicopters, aerial spinners, plane planes, UFOs

n Roman candles

n Mines or shells (heavy cardboard or paper tube(s) attached to a base - upon ignition stars, balls or reports are propelled into the air)

n Chasers

n Parachutes 1.3G Display (special or class B) Fireworks

n Aerial shells

n Theatrical pyrotechnics (see Minn. Stat. 624.20 to 624.25)

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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