This was a close call that drives home the point that caution is always needed when shooting off fireworks. That caution should be heightened even more across Iowa now, as the drought impacting the state is quickly worsening.

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Last weekend, a man in Iowa's capital city of Des Moines was fast asleep. At approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, his doorbell rang. A neighbor had been shooting off bottle rockets when trouble arose.

Fireworks for the Fourth of July
Getty Images
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It seems a bottle rocket got under one of the shrubs in front of Arnie Brown's home. He told KCCI the bush was "about 12 feet probably from my house and from the neighbor's house." Thank goodness it wasn't any closer. Once it landed under the shrub, the bottle rocket quickly caught it on fire. It took 30 seconds to turn into a small inferno:

Brown didn't actually see the fire, because his neighbor had used a garden hose to put it out. The neighbor, the same one that shot the bottle rocket, also called 911.

While we should always be careful with fireworks, especially those like bottle rockets whose path is very uncertain, it's obviously even more vital right now. The latest drought monitor for Iowa shows a drought that's worsening fast.

Below are drought numbers for this week, compared to this week one year ago. Last year at this time, the state was in great shape (image below).

Drought Monitor
Drought Monitor
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  • Exceptional Drought (Worst Level) 3.52% compared to 0 in 2022
  • Extreme Drought 31.74%, compared to 5.83% in 2022
  • Severe Drought 83.02%, compared to 12.11% in 2022
  • Abnormally Dry 99.4%, compared to 37.14% in 2022

The below image is current and corresponds with the numbers above. As you can see, only portions of two counties in northwest Iowa aren't, at least, abnormally dry. The need for rain becomes more urgent every day.

Drought Monitor
Drought Monitor
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