The Fourth of July weekend is upon us.

And unlike last year, when most Independence Day parades, firework shows and other big events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, everything is back on schedule for 2021.

Related: Fire officials urge people to be safe around fireworks

So to Brainerd lakes area residents and visitors alike, we hope you enjoy your time on this holiday commemorating the 245th year of our nation’s founding.

While there’s plenty of fun to be had, we would remind people to stay safe, whether boating on the water, attending gatherings with family and friends or attending any number of events being held this weekend in the Brainerd lakes area.

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There’s an added level of danger coinciding with Fourth of July celebrations this year, and that’s in the use of personal fireworks and the potential for wildfires.

Related: Our Opinion: The fire danger is real during this dry stretch

Most of the state is in moderate to very high fire danger and the Minnesota DNR has burning restrictions in place to ensure public safety in the counties of Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd, Wadena and the southern portion of Beltrami. The restrictions include:

  • No campfires are allowed for dispersed, remote or wilderness camping.

  • Campfires in established fire rings associated with a home, cabin, campground or resort are allowed, but extreme caution is warranted.

  • No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits.

  • Burning permits will not be issued for debris, brush, or yard waste.

In a Wednesday, June 30, Brainerd Dispatch story, area fire officials said this year people should leave the fireworks to the experts.

Related: Our Opinion: Hats off to the Class of 2021

“Unusually hot and dry conditions have increased the risk of fire,” DNR Fire Prevention Supervisor Casey McCoy said. “One unintentional spark in these conditions could result in thousands of charred acres and property damage.

“This is a dangerous time for wildfires in Minnesota.”

There’s plenty of opportunity to attend Independence Day events put on by professionals. Brainerd, Crosby and Longville’s Fourth of July celebrations will be Sunday, July 4; Pequot Lakes is Saturday and Sunday; while Breezy Point, Nisswa and Crosslake celebrations are Saturday.

Related: Our Opinion: Too much of a good thing?

So have fun celebrating America everyone, take time to reflect on what and why we are celebrating and enjoy what the Brainerd lakes area has to offer this Fourth of July holiday.

And however you choose to celebrate, please do so safely.