Forest off limits to Fourth of July fireworks

FROM STAFF REPORTS

   UNICOI -- July Fourth may arrive with a bang in some areas, but the Cherokee National Forest is not one of them.
   District Ranger Candace Allen of the Watauga Ranger District, said, "Although shooting fireworks is a popular activity with many people, it always has been and continues to be prohibited on national forest land.
   "Because of safety, fire and noise problems, fireworks cannot be possessed or discharged in any national forest. We want national forest visitors to be aware that our officers routinely enforce this regulation in the Cherokee National Forest," Allen said.
   Though outdoor conditions may appear wet after weeks of rain, state and federal fire officials say numerous fires are started each year from illegal use of fireworks in wild land areas of East Tennessee.
   The public is advised to check with local law enforcement officials to see where fireworks can be used legally outside national forest properties. Forest officials also urge the public to be careful with fire at all times.