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Fire Department takes precautions for Rhythm & Booms

Officials seek to prevent possible fires from dry conditions

MADISON, Wis. - Dry conditions aren't stopping the annual Rhythm & Booms fireworks display scheduled for Saturday, but the Madison Fire Department is taking precautions to keep the event safe.

Parks crews spent the day watering trees and mowing the grass Tuesday, and other parts of Warner Park may get water before the fireworks fly on Saturday.

"Potentially, prior to lighting fireworks, we're going to wet down some areas that we're concerned about fallout, possibly," said Madison Fire Chief Steven Davis.

At a news conference Tuesday, organizers and the fire chief outlined plans to gauge wind and dryness and take precautions to prevent any possible fires, including extra fire trucks and a roving brush-fire rig.

"The park appears to be in pretty good condition," Davis said. "The grasses that are browner are low-cut and almost stamped down in areas, which is good for (preventing) fire because the fuel load is reduced by that."

The fireworks are shot from an island over a marsh, and although the fireworks company and fire crews are prepared for spot fires, they said conditions are better than expected.

"The islands back there are verdantly green; amazingly lush, partly because there were high water levels this spring," said Terry Kelly, president of the Madison Fireworks Fund. "There's nothing back there that would seem particularly combustible."

While fire crews will remain prepared for big issues, organizers are reminding those headed to the park not to bring in their own fireworks and create more fire hazards of their own.

"We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of the event," Kelly said.

This is the 20th year of Rhythm & Booms, and Kelly said it's not the first year things have been dry.


As of Tuesday, there is rain in the forecast for Saturday evening. Kelly said they will try to get the fireworks off Saturday night, but if not, the rain date is Sunday, July 1.

Officials on Tuesday also released a traffic exit plan for Rhythm & Booms, which can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, in Columbia County, officials have canceled the fireworks in Pardeeville because of potential fire danger from the dry conditions. Pardeeville officials said the fireworks will be rescheduled for September.  

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