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Firefighters gear up for long night on Fourth of July

Posted at 7:44 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 20:44:47-04

Celebrating with friends and family is a tradition on the Fourth of July but sometimes those celebrations get out of hand.

This holiday Central Texas Fire Departments are preparing for everything from injuries to wildfires.

Central Texas has experienced extreme temperatures this summer ... meaning this Fourth of July may become a busier night for firefighters than most years.

”We’re going to have a lot of folks out there in the hot temperatures,” said Kirby Bush, assistant chief of operations Temple Fire and Rescue. “So, we do have additional staff out there just for that event as well. We’re just trying to anticipate any area that we may have a larger call volume than normal.”

Departments are staffing up for a long night.

”Tonight, all my guys will be coming back in at 6 p.m. We’re going to staff the station completely,” said Rob Hadrick, assistant chief for Central Bell County Fire and rescue. “That way, we make sure we are at the maximum of manning possible.”

While every Fourth of July they get the typical injury from fireworks calls, they are anticipating more injury calls than normal this year.

”We’re teetering around 100 degrees in daily temperatures. So, folks out for the 4th of July weekend are dealing with heat exposure and we have sick calls along with those natures as well,” said Bush.

With drought conditions so high in Central Texas, there is also a very real chance of fireworks starting a wildfire.

”Everything is really dry right now. I know we’ve had a little bit of rain and everyone is like, well it’s not as dry as it was but, it’s still dry out there,” said Hadrick. “We have seen some small spot fires and brush fires related to fireworks.”

Even with official warnings out there, they’re expecting more.

”Particularly in the afternoon when you have your hotter temperatures and dryer conditions and the wind,” said Bush. “Today we’re dealing with 10-15 mile an hour wind. So, that’s always going to make conditions worse.”

The big takeaway, if you are celebrating the Fourth of July, be mindful of the heat and stay hydrated.

If you are planning to use fireworks, keep safety as your top priority.