Our View: This Fourth of July holiday, don’t play with fire

There’s going to be a parade today in downtown Modesto at 9:30 a.m. What a wonderful way to start the day, just as it has been for the past 139 years. Then come the street vendors, a car show and even a car giveaway. Or, hustle off to Columbia for a slew of old-fashioned contests, a flag-raising and a barbecue at 10:30 a.m. Virtually every city in the area is doing something to show its pride in America – as should we all.

To top it off, how about some fireworks? You can hear the booms and see the colors at Woodward Reservoir, Ripon, Manteca, Livingston, Escalon and a host of other places.

But please, not in your backyard. We doubt you’re planning to go outside late tonight and blast off a few Roman candles or M80s. But your kids might think it’s fun. Disabuse of them of that notion.

Unless strictly supervised, all fireworks are dangerous. We don’t have to tell you how dry it is, or how hot. And we hope anyone lighting fuses has the sense to keep a bucket of water and a charged hose at hand. If you don’t, and your fireworks start a fire, you could be in big trouble. The state, city and county all impose big fines on those caught with illegal fireworks. And you could be liable for the damage from a fire. Unlikely? Not really. Fireworks started 17,800 fires in 2011 – and that’s not the worst of it. Eight people died due to illegal fireworks that year. In 2012, 8,700 people ended up in emergency rooms, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The most injurious fireworks? Sparklers, accounting for a quarter of all injuries.

As Americans, we have every right to celebrate the Fourth. It should be a great day. Let’s keep it that way.