The 4th of July is a federal holiday (did you hear you joined the Junior Roast?) Usually celebrated with barbecues, family get-a-toggles and enthusiastic pyrotechnic demonstrations, as the United States has affected parts of the United States and Canada, a major part of this annual event has spread to different parts of the country.
Prohibitions have been imposed in various parts of the United States to prevent the use of fireworks during the July 4th celebrations, as there are fears that their combination with already stormy weather conditions and record droughts could spread potentially deadly wildfires. The U.S. National Weather Service has warned of extreme heat and dry weather for the Northwest, with worst-case scenario in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho. Record-breaking heat has led to the opening of “cooling centers” across many cities that are sheltering residents in the restive north, but even after that there have been reports of deaths.
To make matters worse, an abnormal weather system known as a heat dome effectively keeps an eye on the ascending temperature, preventing the cold weather system from absorbing heat. This is the culmination of a high-pressure system that has been parking northwest of the Pacific Ocean, catching very warm air and lowering it to the ground. The unprecedented heat combined with the famine means that many states are targeted for potentially devastating wildfires, which can start all on their own, especially during dry and hot weather.
Add it to the sky full of literal sparks and you can see why fire departments across the region have felt the need for a ban on festival explosives. Portland, Oregon is one of the worst-hit areas, and a KATU report said the decision by Portland Fire and Rescue to protect the public was a difficult but obvious one. “If we don’t take action now, I fear the consequences could be catastrophic,” said Sarah Boon, Portland Fire and Rescue Fire Chief. “It’s not easy to make such a decision in the very near future of our national holiday, but as fire chief I think I also have a high responsibility to make sometimes unpopular decisions at unprecedented times to protect lives, property and the environment.”
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