The long Fourth of July weekend should be fun, but it also should be safe and sane for grown-ups, kids and pets. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
• The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds us all to be aware of fire restrictions around the state due to rising fire danger.
Because the weather is warming up and vegetation is quickly drying out, fires can start and spread quickly. Last year, fireworks caused 27 wildfires on the public and private lands DNR protects. Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, are prohibited year-round on lands managed by DNR.
Some safety tips: Before discharging fireworks, check to see if they are allowed in that location. Do not park vehicles in dry, grassy areas as the heat from exhaust systems can ignite the dry grass. Never leave a campfire unattended, and be sure it is completely out before leaving the area. Be sure recreational vehicles have operating spark arresters.
• Fireworks and exploding targets are also illegal in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. U.S. Forest Service personnel will be on the lookout for the illegal possession or use of fireworks.
• The Fourth of July, with all its associated noise, can be overwhelming for pets, and even possibly hazardous.
So many pets are frightened and try to escape the sights and sounds of the Fourth of July that animal shelters around the nation report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the holiday.
The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society recommends that you keep your pets away from fireworks; ask your veterinarian for help if your pet is scared by fireworks; protect your pets from the dangers of heat; and make sure your pets are wearing collars and identification tags.