Which Atlanta-area counties rank highest for risk of fireworks incidents?


How did other counties rank?

  1. Gwinnett (most at risk for fireworks incidents)
  2. Fulton
  3. Barrow
  4. Forsyth
  5. Henry
  6. Cobb
  7. Walton
  8. DeKalb
  9. Paulding
  10. Clayton
  11. Rockdale
  12. Coweta
  13. Newton
  14. Meriwether
  15. Douglas
  16. Carroll
  17. Fayette
  18. Cherokee
  19. Spalding
  20. Butts (least at risk for fireworks incidents)

Be careful this holiday weekend, Gwinnett. You're at the highest risk of fireworks incident, according to a new study.

LawnStarter, an online service that connects customers to lawn care professionals, released a list of the 20 counties in the Atlanta area that pose the highest risk for incidents during fireworks.

Gwinnett County topped the list, named the "riskiest county for Fourth of July fireworks."

» Don't let your pet become another July 4th runaway

Each county’s risk score was calculated based on five factors: drought severity, fire protection rating, square mileage, population and the number of kids under 18 in the county. Gwinnett has the second highest population of the counties on the list, and it shares the highest drought severity rating.

This means that Gwinnettians are more at risk of incidents due to personal fireworks use, including unintentional fires.

“We’re going to be placing an additional fire unit in service," said Gwinnett Fire Deputy Chief Charles Wells. "On a daily basis...we have over 68 units in service every day."

Those 68 units include 30 engines and 10 ladder trucks. This additional fire unit will be put into service during the holiday weekend, but it is not a temporary addition. The unit will remain in service and will work from Fire Station 31, which will open soon.

» Where to watch fireworks in Gwinnett this year

Last year, it rained during the July Fourth weekend, and there were no fires reported as a result of fireworks displays. According to fire officials, there has not been a history of too many incidents surrounding these holidays.

“In the past we have seen a slight increase in the number of calls, but it’s not a widespread issue," Wells said.

He stresses the importance of researching local government ordinances and understanding the times and places where fireworks can be used.

» How late can you shoot fireworks in Gwinnett?

“We know that citizens are going to do private fireworks displays," Wells continued, "and we just want them to be safe."

Fire services, however, prefer that citizens refrain from using personal fireworks when possible.

“We would always encourage them to take in a public fireworks display," said Captain Tommy Rutledge. "Public fireworks displays are conducted by trained pyrotechnicians in an approved setting."

Rutledge and Wells urge residents in Gwinnett to follow a few basic tips for staying safe around personal fireworks.

  • Purchase fireworks from a licensed and reputable vendor.
  • Read the directions carefully and inspect the device for any defects.
  • Keep a bucket of water, garden hose and fire extinguisher close.
  • Ignite fireworks outdoors away from buildings, vehicles, vegetation or any other combustible material.
  • Ignite only one device at a time and use a long fireplace lighter.
  • Always keep a safe distance between yourself and the fireworks device.
  • Remember to allow enough room and ignite fireworks on a firm, flat surface.
  • Never give fireworks to a child and keep children away from any immediate firework area.
  • Never attempt to fix or re-ignite a malfunctioning device or "dud"
  • When leaving, make sure that no smoldering fires, hot embers or sparks are present from falling fireworks debris. Wet the area with a garden hose for added protection.
  • Store unused fireworks in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children or pets and away from open flames. 
  • When discarding fireworks, remember to always soak them in a bucket of water for several hours before placing them in the trash.