Published: Dec 31, 2010 12:08 AM EST
Updated: Dec 30, 2010 6:44 PM EST

Officials are cautioning Southwest Floridians to be careful with fireworks, because of extra dry conditions around the region.

"We have had some hard freezes and a lack of rain.  Both mean the driest conditions in several years," said Victor Hill of the Fl. Division of Forestry.     "The grass and leaves are tinder-dry in many places, and sparks from fireworks could easily start a fire."

Still, places like American Fireworks warehouse in Ft. Myers are doing steady business, selling the promise of loud explosions and strong light shows.    "We know it is dry, so we will set them off in a parking lot with no trees around," said Angel Vargas, who was buying at the American warehouse.    "I will set them off in a sandy area next to a canal," said another buyer, George Lineham.

Still, Victor Hill warns:    fireworks can have firebrands that come down after the light show in the sky.    "Those firebrands could start your neighborh's house or yard on fire.   And you could get a citation and possibly a bill for fire-fighting services, if authorities determine that you started the fire with fireworks."

Anyone who buys fireworks in Florida must sign a document.    They pledge to use the fireworks only to scare away birds from farms, to signal trains, or  for ceremonial and sporting events.