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With High Fire Danger, Counties Restricting Some Fireworks
With another Christmas here and gone, many people are looking ahead to New Years in less than a week: And many while many people choose to celebrate with fireworks, the dry, windy conditions and high fire danger have some counties restricting certain types.
A number of area counties are still under burn bans, including Travis, Williamson, Hays, and those to the north, south, and west. This year, Travis and Hays counties are restricting the sale and use of skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins in the unincorporated parts of the counties. Travis County officials say November was one of the top five driest on record, and in recent days, we’ve seen more fires and higher fire danger. Williamson County’s website mentions the Texas Pyrotechnic Association has voluntarily agreed to not sell fireworks with sticks and fins.
Still, officials say fireworks still carry not just fire danger, but also risk of personal injury, as more than 10,000 people are hurt using fireworks each year in the U.S. If you do choose to use your own, a few things to watch out for: when detonating, make sure you do so on a flat surface, away from dry leaves, grass, and buildings, and at least six feet away from other people. Have water on hand just in case, light only one at a time, and never try to re-light it if it doesn’t work. Also, if you have kids, officials say even sparklers can be dangerous, so keep those away.
It’s also illegal to sell or have fireworks inside Travis County parks or Austin city limits. It could mean a fine of more than $500.
For a map of burn bans across Texas: http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/DecBan.pdf
For a list of safety tips: http://www.wilco.org/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/1422/Burn-Ban-Extended-to-Jan-18-2013.aspx
By Adam Bennett