News & Politics

Despite a Couple of Small Fires, the Fireworks on the Mall Went Off “Without a Hitch”

The National Park Service reflects on the Fourth of July celebrations. Plus: tips to avoid heat stroke this weekend.

Fireworks on the Mall. Photograph by Tanya Pai.

The National Park Service says that all things considered,
the July Fourth fireworks on the Mall “went off without a hitch.”
That said, the heatwave is expected to intensify through the
weekend, compounding the misery for the thousands of area residents
still without power but also making it potentially dangerous
for individuals who go outside without taking the recommended
precautions. As of this morning the number of those without
power was down from more than 1.2 million to under 100,000.

NPS spokesman
Bill Line, speaking to us from his Haines
Point office (which is still without power), said while a small number
of the 2,850 fireworks
shells misfired, “that’s not uncommon. Every year, anywhere,
some fireworks misfire.” The DC Fire Department had to put out
a couple of small brush fires, he said, “but they were
extinguished within a minute” and no one was in danger.

Due to the extreme heat, there were cases of people getting overheated; they visited one of the many first-aid tents on the
Mall, but no one was transported to a hospital. 

Extreme heat will be a factor again this weekend
as the Smithsonian wraps up the Folklife Festival on the
Currently the forecast calls for a temperature of 105 degrees
in DC on Saturday. Line says all the usual precautions still
hold. “We have watering stations and sprinkling stations, but
ultimately people are responsible for themselves, and have to
be. They have to monitor how they feel.”

The classic signs of heat stroke, according to the DC Government and the Homeland Security And Emergency Management Agency,
are as follows:

• Hot, dry skin (no sweating)

• Hallucinations

• Chills

• Throbbing headache

• High body temperature

• Confusion or dizziness

• Slurred speech

Here are the precautions they recommend:

• Stay indoors as much as possible.

• Turn on the air conditioner or fan.

• DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.

• Pay special attention to young children, the elderly, and the mentally ill.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.

• Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside (SPF 15 to 30 is best).

• Limit exposure to the sun (rays are most powerful between 10 AM and 3 PM).

• Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

• If you do not have access to a cool-temperature
location, visit one of the District’s cooled indoor facilities (see a