Dry conditions on fire chief’s mind as IVFD readies for July 3 show

    Friday, July 3, will be a big night in Imperial as Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) members take charge of the city’s annual fireworks show.
    The show will get underway at 9:15 p.m. at the fairgrounds in Imperial.
    Celebrating the Fourth of July with a big show is an annual event coordinated by the IVFD, and this year Fire Chief Doug Mitchell has the area’s dry conditions on his mind, too.
    It’s not like last year, when generous June rains fell, easing firefighters’ concerns both with the fireworks show and for fires in its coverage area.
    June 2019 with 6.6 inches of rain was the sixth wettest month since 1935. That’s more than the 5.39 inches Imperial has seen in all of 2020 so far.
    June this year saw just 1.62 inches of moisture.
    “It’s dry out there. The pastures are really dry,” said Fire Chief Mitchell.
    He said the area will need one to two inches of rain to get those pastures going again. And, that means it’s dry everywhere.
    Mitchell has two words for those choosing to shoot fireworks—be responsible.
    “We’ve been lucky so far,” he said.
    He credits that to local residents who are making an effort to be careful.
    But, he’s also seen major fires elsewhere in western Nebraska and Colorado the past week started by fireworks.
    “I just ask people to please be responsible,” he said.
    He said individuals and families enjoying fireworks should have a water source or hose handy in case a fire does occur while they are shooting fireworks.
    The IVFD will be at the fairgrounds Friday afternoon with trucks wetting down the area before the show. He said it’s been helpful, too, to see the county’s sprinklers running at the fairgrounds.
    The city of Imperial allocates $7,500 for the annual fireworks show.
    In case rain cancels Friday night’s show, it will be moved to Saturday, Mitchell said.


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