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Local emergency officials offer lightning safety tips for people watching firework shows

Officials advise people to seek shelter, avoid tall objects

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Samantha Robichaud sent 10 News incredible video she captured of lightning strikes in the sky during a fireworks show Thursday night. 

In Lynchburg, officials at The Summit are getting ready for their annual Wyndhurst Fireworks Show. 

And lightning could be a possibility during the show Friday. 

"We have fire marshals and a pyrotechnician that are in charge of the event and they deal with us, all the time. So they will have the protocol set up in the event of thunderstorms and lightning," said Brenda Dixo, marketing director.

Lynchburg's fire marshals on scene to regulate the show say lightning isn't an issue when the pyrotechnician is launching fireworks. It's the wind that comes with it.

"When the fireworks go up and explodes, those embers are still hot and if the wind blows it into an area that’s dry or that is ready to be lit like some of these dead branches surrounding us it can light that off. That's our big concern. That's what we leave it at 10 mph wind," John Norman, deputy fire marshal said when explaining reasons why they shut down firework shows impacted by weather.

Norman tells 10 News people who are coming to watch should seek shelter the minute they see lightning. That's especially true for those sitting in high places.
 
"Lightning has the intensity to hit whatever is tallest. So it could be a tree. Even the canopy the people use to create shade for themselves. If lightning comes people should move away from the trees. should seek low-lying ground," Norman said.