Fireworks safety tips for July 4
A ban on the sale and personal use of aerial fireworks on a stick or with fins went into effect in Burnet County on June 21 when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index reached 576. The trigger point for enacting the ban was set at 575 by the Burnet County Commissioners Court at a June meeting. It had been rising seven to 11 points a day throughout June.
KBDI measures precipitation and soil moisture on a scale of 0-800 and is used by the Texas A&M Forest Service to determine potential fire hazards in an area.
Before lighting any fireworks, make sure it’s legal in your location. Most incorporated cities ban the sale and use of all fireworks, even non-aerial ones, within their boundaries.
Currently, Burnet and Llano counties have burn bans in place, which only affect unincorporated areas. Outdoor burning is regulated by state law; counties are tasked with enacting burn bans based on current conditions. When a burn ban is in effect, all outdoor burning is prohibited. It also limits any activity that can cause an outdoor fire, which is why fireworks restrictions are included.
Here are a few safety suggestions to follow when shooting personal fireworks. The information comes from Llano County Emergency Management Coordinator Gilbert Bennett.
- Have several water sources close by, including pre-filled 1- to 5-gallon buckets.
- Keep your distance from large, grassy fields.
- Make sure the launch tube for big fireworks is secured to the ground to prevent it from tipping over after the fuse is lit.
- Do not hold fireworks in your hand.
“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional show,” Bennett said. “They assume all the risk and provide a safe distance for everyone to enjoy their work.”