San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 9th, 2008
County bans flying fireworks for holidays

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

The sale or use of fireworks with sticks or fins will be prohibited in unincorporated areas of Hays County after the commissioners court passed such a measure Tuesday because of fire danger.

“We’re in extreme drought conditions in Hays County,” Hays County Fire Marshall Mark Chambers told the commissioners court.

Chambers said the prohibition is necessary to prevent flash fires under the present dry conditions. According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), Hays County measured 686 Tuesday morning, while a reading of 575 or higher indicates drought conditions. Scores between 600 and 800, Chambers said, count for “extreme fire danger.”

The state’s Local Government Code authorizes counties to prohibit the sale or use of fireworks with sticks or fins on a seasonal basis when the KBDI reaches 575

Fireworks stands in Hays County generally are open for ten days at a time during two times of the year – the days leading up to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and the days leading to the Fourth of July.

Chambers said Chester Davis of American Fireworks agreed, in view of the drought conditions, to cut the days of sale for his fireworks stands in Hays County from ten to six during the December season.

The sale and use of sparklers, roman candles and other items that don’t fly long distances are still allowed. However, missile fireworks such as bottle rockets and M80s will be prohibited.

Violation of the legislation is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

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