BEATRICE – One advantage to this year’s fireworks season around the Fourth of July is that conditions are wetter than usual….with periodic rain falling in recent weeks.

"Out in the vegetation world it's been a huge improvement with the grass and weeds being wet, it takes more to heat them up to burn, so that's a big benefit."

Beatrice Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Daake noted that after several years with few major incidents, fireworks did play a role in a Sunday night fire that destroyed a camper and did significant damage to a couple of adjacent homes, near Fourth and High. 

"The state fire marshal investigator determined that was fireworks that started, I believe, under the camper...caught the camper on fire and then the fire spread from the camper. In the last thirty years, we've had anywhere from one to five fire-related calls (during the July 4th period).  Very seldom are they structures, but unfortunately this year, it was. The year with the Salvation Army (fire), that was the floating lanterns that caused that, and those have since been banned by the state."

Daake says there are common sense steps that come in handy when using fireworks. "Have a bucket of water handy or a garden hose...don't light fireworks in your hand and throw them...have them on the ground and light them that way. Just respect the distance...and sometimes they're unpredictable. I've seen roman candles tip over and shoot in a direction they weren't supposed to go. The same thing can happen with some of those aerial devices, too."

There have been no serious injuries related to fireworks this holiday period.