WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The 4th of July is right around the corner, but it might look a little different than normal thanks to the drought conditions.
Judge David Blackburn signed a declaration Wednesday prohibiting the personal use or sale of fireworks in Bell County.
“What I have to gauge is the public safety factor and again, given the conditions that we have out there on the ground, shooting off fireworks just seems to unnecessary to put persons and property at risk,” Blackburn said.
Public shows scheduled can still happen, but they must apply for a permit. The reason permitted shows are allowed is because they have professional pyrotechnicians conducting the shows along with fire crews ready on site.
“Those are two very big differences between a public display of fireworks and a personal use,” Blackburn said.
McLennan County has an order in place that’s not as restrictive. It states, certain fireworks outside of city limits in McLennan County are banned.
“They don’t enjoy doing this sort of thing,” Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Dirker said. “It’s so dry, and it creates a dangerous situation that they wanted to kind of curtail the things that have a high danger while still allowing people to celebrate the way they want to.”
The order states, a person cannot sell or use skyrockets with sticks or missiles with fins in any portion of unincorporated areas of McLennan County.
“These fireworks in particular, they give off large sparks when you light them off and also fireworks with fins, if you those fins bend, they can shoot in all sorts of random directions, and we are in critical fire weather right now,” Dirker said.
People who knowingly violate these orders in Bell and McLennan County could be facing a fine and jail time.
Most cities also have ordinances banning fireworks, so make sure to check the rules for you city.