The Georgia Forestry Commission is warning not to use fireworks on the Fourth of July this year.
It has been so hot and dry that the commission is worried about more wildfires.
"Permits for outdoor burning are not being issued, and we certainly discourage use of fireworks unless organized and supervised by local officials," said Alan Dozier, Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission, in a news release. Wildfires have blackened more than 135,000 acres of forestland in Georgia since March, with eight fatalities, $100 million in timber losses and $15 million in property losses attributed to wildfire. Governor Nathan Deal has declared states of emergency in Charlton and Ware counties due to large wildfires. To date in 2011, fires have burned 75 percent more acres than Georgia's five year average, and the number of fires is 35 percent higher than the five year average.
Dozier is also urging caution about other outdoor activities involving fire, such as backyard grills, campfires, cigarettes, and even over-heated lawn equipment.