Sheriff Clarke calls for 'common sense,' patience while partying on July 3/4
Image by KIVI
MILWAUKEE - The combination of hundreds of thousands of people, fireworks, alcohol, 100-degree temperatures and scorched ground could bring a combustible combination on July 3rd and 4th in Milwaukee.
County Sheriff David Clarke is asking for people to use their head and offer patience as they celebrate America's 236th birthday with the July 3rd fireworks along the lakefront and July 4th festivities in the area.
"Conditions like this could turn into a catastrophe," said Clarke on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"Numerous common sense precautions are called for."
Of course, that includes the most important part of staying healthy in heat - water.
"Stay hydrated, and everything is going to be OK."
Perhaps, but this heat has caused very dry ground along the lakefront and in a lot of areas around Southeastern Wisconsin.
"Everything this year is being done in the backdrop of dry conditions," explained Clarke.
"There is prohibition for fireworks without a permit. We're discouraging sparklers this year. That's the kind of thing that could start a grass fire. It's a $215 citation for having unauthorized fireworks in a park without a permit."
He explained that Milwaukee County Parks crews would water grass before and after fireworks displays in the area.
Then, there's the fact that people will be using grills during their celebrations. Sometimes, they'll simply put the charcoal on the ground after they initially cool down.
Clarke says that's not a good idea this year.
"If you're using grills, you just can't dump that stuff out at the end of the night."
What about alcohol during celebrations? Hundreds of thousands of fireworks-goers will have their own parties, and lots of them will have alcohol - which is against the law in a County park.
Clarke says his deputies will use discretion in giving citations "as long as people are behaving. You can't bring a half barrel down there without a permit. If someone just wants to bring down a couple bottles of wine, a six-pack, a 12-pack to share among friends, we're not going to get involved. If we see people getting out of hand, hooting, hollering, acting crazy, then for that one 12-pack or six-pack, you will be cited for having alcohol."
The last part of the combustibility of July 3rd might involve the traffic hassles that can easily bring about anger in impatient drivers.
"You're in a crowded public space," said an understanding Clarke.
"Traffic will be horrendous, so don't expect to get down there late and find someplace to park. It's going to take a while to get out of there. Stay off the horn. Everybody's in a hurry to get out of there."