Fire officials warn of dangerous dry conditions

(FOX19) - Fire officials are urging residents to take extra precautions to avoid dangerous fires after The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for much of the Tri-state.

At the Kenton Fire District in Kentucky, firefighters demonstrated how dangerous the dry conditions can be when a heat source is added in the already hot conditions. With a fire engine on standby for safety, firefighters used a cigarette and a pile of dry grass to show how quickly a fire can begin.

In less than five minutes, the smoke from the cigarette turned to flames. It is a type of fire that happens all too frequently on area roadways.

"You have people driving by throwing their cigarettes out," Kenton Fire District Chief Jim Shoemaker said.  "That's why they have ashtrays in cars."

Whether it is a cigarette, fireworks, or a trash burn out of control, firefighters say don't hesitate to dial 9-1-1.

Shoemaker says mulch fires are also a danger. Firefighters recommend you cool off any mulch beds with a little water.

"It's like a tinder box," explained Rick Neihaus of Colerain Fire Department. "Everything will burn and spread very rapidly."

In Colerain Township, they're leading by example by taking extra precautions themselves for their annual July 4th fireworks show next Friday.

"This week our Parks and Services Director is already on a watering program to try and wet down the area that is our landing zone," Niehaus said.

Colerain Township will also have firefighters in a nearby wooded area to look out for falling debris.

"We'll have spotters the night of the shoot that have water pressurized extinguishers back in that area if they see a hot ember fall they'll be able to extinguish it before it starts something much larger," Niehaus said.

Fire officials like Niehaus are urging everyone to leave the pyrotechnics to the pros this holiday to avoid any potentially dangerous fires.

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