Is July fire season or fireworks season?

It’s July. Does that mean it’s fire season, or fireworks season? The answer, of course, is both — and that can be a problem.

We wait until July when all the weeds are dried out and everything is at peak flammability, and then we light the fuse and send exploding fire bombs up into the air. And, just in case it wasn’t quite dry enough on the Fourth of July, here in Utah we let things dry out for 20 more days and try it again.

Why July? Wouldn’t it make more sense to light up the sky when the ground is covered with snow on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day? How about Thanksgiving? Wouldn’t fireworks go great with cranberry sauce? Maybe even St. Patrick’s Day, when everything is green? Nope, we insist on dry July.

Fortunately, the local fire departments work hard to keep everyone safe. Most of them have restrictions set up as to where fireworks can and cannot be discharged. The problem comes when Hank down the street ignores the warnings and lights off the $60 Wal-Mart pack, or, worse yet, some of the shoot-’em-up-in-the-air fireworks purchased semi-legally across the state line.

Even if Hank doesn’t set the neighborhood ablaze, we still have to deal with him setting off firecrackers at all hours of the night. I’ve never understood the appeal of firecrackers: “Yippee, they make a loud noise!” I could get the same result by going around and hitting random people on the thumb with a hammer, only the loud noises I would be creating would be more colorful.

And then there are sparklers. Sparklers are the “kid toy” of the fireworks set. We light them on fire, hand them to a kid and say, “Here’s a stick on fire. Feel free to wave it around and have fun; just be sure not to light anything else on fire with it, OK? Oh, and while you’re holding it, the flame will be inching ever closer to burning your hand. Enjoy!”

Now, I may have given you the impression that I don’t like fireworks. That’s not true: I love a good professional fireworks show. When people who know what they’re doing stage fireworks shows while working in conjunction with the local fire departments to keep everyone safe, I’m all for it.

These professional fireworks shows are beautiful and fantastic! (I just wish the finale would last a little longer.)

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