The Westbrook Fire Department will issue permits for consumer fireworks for the Fourth of July weekend after dry conditions improved this week.

Permits had been suspended because of concerns about an increased wildfire risk, but rain earlier this week prompted fire officials to cancel the suspension, said Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte.

The city’s fireworks ordinance allows residents to use consumer fireworks with a permit on July 4 and 5. This year, fireworks permits will be issued only online on those days because of the coronavirus pandemic.

State fire officials are urging people who are using fireworks for the holiday to use extra caution to protect themselves and prevent fires. The concern about fireworks has been heightened this year because of the fire conditions statewide before rain this week. Maine has had more than 720 wildfires already this year. In 2016, there were 749 fires during the entire year.

Turcotte said people should use consumer fireworks responsibly, but also need to pay attention to precautions to prevent the spread of the virus because fireworks tend to bring people together.

“We understand the Fourth of July weekend is a time to get together with family and friends, but with the COVID-19 pandemic we’re urging people to pay attention to social distancing, utilize facial coverings and masks, and wash their hands,” he said. “The big thing is social distancing.”

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