Despite recent rain, most of Iowa is still rated as abnormally dry or in moderate to extreme drought and fire officials are urging extreme caution when it comes to fireworks.

“We still haven’t had enough rain to get a lot of moisture build up, so it’s still dangerous,” Estherville Fire Chief Richard Beaver said. “The best thing I can say is if you’re going to light them, be very, very, very careful. Have a water hose handy and watch what’s going on.”

Beaver warns a grassy area that looks green can still catch fire.

“It’s not the green stuff that you catch on fire, it’s the dead brown stuff underneath that catches fire and then once it catches fire, the green stuff will burn,” he said.

If you do intend to shoot off fireworks, Beaver’s advice is to do so in an open area where you can see where they land.

“If you can’t see where they’re coming down at, they can land in the grass and lay there and smoke for a long time and then all of a sudden you’ve got a fire after you’ve gone to bed,” Beaver said.

(By Ed Funston, KILR, Estherville)