Part of the tradition of celebrating our nation’s freedom on the 4th of July is fireworks and firecrackers. But, depending on where you live in Texas, you could be limited by both city or county regulations. You should also check to see if your area is under a burn ban. Burn bans normally occur when dry weather has made conditions prime for wildfires. Though a burn ban does not limit the use of fireworks, it does indicate the need for extreme caution.
How it works
In Texas, when warm, dry weather persists, many government officials are qualified to take action for the counties they represent. For the concern of public safety, in Texas county judges are entrusted with the determination of limiting outdoor burning by instituting burn bans. Normally, each county will announce the burn ban on their county website and in local newspapers. In addition, the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS), who surveys current and future weather conditions, then provides a statewide map displaying counties under a ban that is updated daily.
Outdoor fires and fireworks are associated with this time of year no matter how intense the drought becomes. Because of that, TFS has multiple officers and full-time investigators in the state who aid the public and authorities in enforcing felony and misdemeanor offenses. Arson can carry a fine up to $10,000. An anonymous hotline is available to the public to report crimes at 800-364-3470.
The forest service recommends people take the following steps for safety on July 4th:
• Obey burn bans and firework restrictions.
• Avoid lighting fireworks or outdoor burning near dry grass or buildings.
• Discard fireworks in a bucket of water.
• When outdoor burning, keep the fire contained and small. Windy days can be a risk and cause more damage.
• Keep water or a garden hose close by. Sparks can fuel a wildfire in minutes.
• Be sure to have adult supervision and dial 911 immediately if a fire escalates.
A map of current county burn ban updates may be found on the BRA website homepage or by clicking here. To receive burn ban updates by email, click here.