08:23 GMT29 November 2020
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    The massive drought consuming the West Coast of the United States is now disrupting Fourth of July celebrations for many Americans, as dry conditions force many counties to ban fireworks displays.

    While the West Coast has suffered from a lack of rain for the last few years, the region has faced especially severe conditions since April, according to the US Drought Monitor.

    In Washington state, bans and restrictions have been set in place by the Fire Protection Bureau in many areas, including Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia. 

    The Pacific Northwest received record rainfall over the winter, but has been extremely dry since the spring.

    "Even wetter places such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, still have only received about 60 to 75 percent of their normal rainfall since April 1," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski explained.

    Oregon has prohibited fireworks at beaches, as well as all state and national parks, while California has banned them throughout a large portion of Sacramento County.

    "The recent dry weather coupled with dried out or dead vegetation leads to a scenario that will make the use of fireworks very dangerous over the upcoming holiday weekend," Pydynowski said.

    "Though cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles only averaged under 2 inches of rain between April 1 and July 4, it has been dry even by their standards," Pydynowski added. 

    "Los Angeles has only received about 25 percent of their normal rainfall while San Francisco has received under 50 percent."

    Because fireworks, and even barbeques, can spark a wildfire easily amongst dry vegetation, the bans are expected to be strongly enforced. This could include fines or imprisonment.

    As the dry weather continues, it is highly likely that more areas will enforce restrictions. Residents should check with local counties before igniting the skies over the weekend.

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    Tags:
    Fireworks, Drought, Fourth of July, Fire Protection Bureau, Oregon, California, Washington
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