July 1, 2013
Fire Marshal recommends leaving fireworks to professionals
If it just doesn't seem like Independence Day without fireworks, the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office recommends enjoying them at a public, professionally-run show rather than using them yourself.
"By not personally using fireworks this July Fourth, you reduce the risk of getting injured and starting a fire," said Fire Marshal Hershel Lee. "Fireworks-related injuries and accidental fires are always a concern for us during the July Fourth holiday, and last week's high temperatures and lack of rain increased the risk of grass fires."
Annually, approximately 10,000 Americans are injured by fireworks. Adults should make sure their children do not possess illegal fireworks or mishandle legal ones. If celebrating with fireworks is legal in your area, and you decide to use them, follow these safety tips.
- Buy from reliable fireworks sellers only and never attempt to make your own fireworks.
- To detonate fireworks, find a flat surface, away from buildings, dry leaves and grass.
- Have water on hand in case of a fire.
- Insist on adult supervision when buying or setting off fireworks.
- Read and follow label directions, warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-Iight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Never give fireworks to small children; even sparklers can cause serious burns.
To view additional safety information and a list of area public fireworks displays, go to: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/fire_marshal/prevention/fireworks.asp.
There is no ban on fireworks this year. A common misconception is that an outdoor burn ban also regulates fireworks. Fireworks are only regulated by a separate order from Commissioners Court or a local disaster declaration by the County Judge. In order for Commissioners Court to restrict the
sale of rockets with sticks and missiles with fins, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)* must be at 575 or greater, and the Court must order the restriction prior to June 15. Fireworks may not be regulated beyond this restriction except by a local disaster declaration by the County Judge. To make sure there is not a fireworks ban where you live, check your county's website.
Fireworks are legally sold in Texas counties from June 24 to July 4. In unincorporated parts of Travis County, the sale and possession of fireworks is legal. Both are prohibited within the city limits of Austin. In addition, fireworks are not allowed in Travis County Parks and parks managed by Travis County.
*KBDI is an index used to determine forest fire potential by measuring soil moisture within the first eight inches of soil. The index ranges from 0 to 800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.
July 4th Area Firework Displays