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Drought wont stop July 4 fireworks
Mark James Sr. sets up part of the fireworks that will be on sale at TNT Fireworks in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Shallowford Road. - photo by Tom Reed
Northeast Georgia's drought conditions won't prevent many Fourth of July events from lighting up the sky with fireworks.

"We are definitely having fireworks, because we're in a protected area," said Hal Williams, the Convention and Visitors Bureau Director of Dahlonega. "We're firing (the fireworks) from the parking lot on the university campus. They will go over the college drill field. ... There should be no problem."

Mark James Sr., manager of the TNT Fireworks tent at Wal-Mart on Shallowford Road, said he thinks the drought's longevity has made customers think more about dry conditions when buying fireworks.

"I don't think it has affected (business). We just do it for a fundraiser during the Fourth of July and New Year's, so we don't sell them all the time," James said.

James runs the fireworks stand twice a year to raise funds for White Oak United Pentecostal Church in Thomson.
The presence of fireworks in the midst of a drought is all the more reason to take precautions on Friday.

Marshal Scott Cagle of Hall County Fire Services said he recommended that people enjoy the fireworks shows put on by professionals, because "where we see injuries is when people buy fireworks and shoot them at home."

Cagle added that the fire department should be contacted in the case of a fire of any size.

"Even if the fire's small and you think you can put it out, you should call, because if it grows, we're already on the way," Cagle said.

Cagle said he anticipated the number of fireworks-related incidents this year to remain about the same as last year, but that a potential shift in incoming wind patterns could change conditions.

In case of a pickup in winds, Cagle said fireworks should not be lit.

The best advice, he said, is the most basic but oftentimes disregarded when it comes to fireworks safety: use common sense.

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