Keeping fireworks fun

Keeping fireworks fun

We all have fond memories of watching fireworks with loved ones. Many families enjoy the tradition each summer, setting up folding chairs and laying down picnic blankets in preparation for firework displays across Texas. Watching fireworks is a fun and exciting activity for the whole family to enjoy, but it is important for everyone taking part in the festivities to be safe and responsible. 

Firework embers can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit! These high temperatures make fireworks extremely dangerous, even when handled by professionals. This is one of the reasons why the Brazos River Authority prohibits the use of fireworks on park property. Luckily, there are a variety of fun, safe and accessible firework displays statewide this July.

There are professional fireworks displays at BRA reservoirs this year, including lakes Possum Kingdom and Granbury. Firework shows at both reservoirs will begin at dusk this July 4th weekend. The firework show at Lake Granbury will be held July 4. For more information, click here. The firework display at Possum Kingdom Lake will be held July 9. For more information, click here.

When watching fireworks from a boat, remember:
•    Don’t drink and boat
•    Wear a life vest
•    Don’t overload the boat  
•    Keep all store-bought fireworks at home and off your boat. Shooting fireworks over BRA reservoir water is prohibited and could result in a Class C misdemeanor citation. 
•    Keep and fire extinguisher or a bucket of water handy in case any embers drift over to your boat 
•    Don’t pass safety buoys surrounding the firework display location on lake
•    Do not turn off navigation lights

The two major reasons for BRA firework regulations are safety and fire prevention. Fireworks are explosives and must be handled with care to keep people and the environment safe. To view the official BRA regulations, click here.

The BRA prohibits using any fireworks on BRA property. These regulations apply to firework use on land and over the water.

Burns make up 44% of the firework-related injuries seen in the month of July 4, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“The obvious thing is depending on how powerful [the fireworks] are, they can cause serious injuries. Even little sparklers kids play with can cause serious burns,” said Scott Davis, BRA Lake Limestone lake ranger sergeant.

There were approximately 9,100 firework-related injuries that required emergency hospitalization recorded in 2018 throughout the US, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“We don’t allow fireworks at our parks because you can burn yourself, others, or property,” said Lambert Jefferson, lake ranger sergeant at Possum Kingdom Lake.

Another threat of unapproved firework use is the potential for grass fires, especially during droughts. More than half the counties across the state currently have burn bans in place. To learn if your county is currently under a burn ban, click here.

There is a high risk of a wildfire if a firework ember ignites a patch of dry grass, so it is important to follow regulations. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Brush, grass and forest fires accounted for 59% of firework fires between 2014 and 2018.

“Safety is the number one concern, and then fire,” Davis said.

Being caught in violation of BRA firework regulations could result in you receiving a Class C Misdemeanor, resulting in up to a $500 fine.

Around this July 4, lake rangers and game wardens will be out in full force, ready to keep everyone safe and able to enjoy the season.
Remember that staying safe while having fun is what summer is all about when spending time with your friends and family.

“Everybody enjoys fireworks, but they’re a lot more enjoyable when they’re safer from a distance,” Davis said.

By Ariel Wright

The Brazos River Authority > About Us > Reservoirs > Possum Kingdom Lake > Lake Regulations
Here’s Why Fireworks Are Dangerous | The Hand Society (assh.org)
Hells Gate Firework Show | July 9th 2022 – Possum Kingdom Lake Reporter (pklrtx.com)
Hometown 4th of July - Granbury Chamber of Commerce
10 Tips for Boaters Watching Fireworks Displays - Sea Tow Foundation (boatingsafety.com)
Burning Laws and Regulations (agrilife.org)
Fireworks fires and injuries report | NFPA