AUSTIN, Texas - Travis County officials are urging residents to be extremely cautious with fireworks during the July 4th holiday.
Officials say that after meeting this week to discuss how fire chiefs across the county are preparing for the holiday, "it is clear wildfire danger is very present."
Travis County Emergency Services Districts will be bringing in additional staff to assist with wildfires that may happen because of holiday fireworks celebrations.
"Current dry conditions are having an impact on the risk of wildfire within Travis County. There has been a 73% increase in wildfire activity this last week compared to the prior week," said Ken Bailey, Fire Chief for ESD 11. "While this week’s rain is helpful, it is unknown if the precipitation we receive will adequately mitigate our risks going into the 4th of July weekend. Regardless of the rain, we urge people to use fireworks responsibly. Shooting fireworks near large areas of vegetation would undoubtedly be ill-advised."
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Local fireworks retails have voluntarily moved to not sell certain aerial fireworks products in Travis County, according to Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway. In neighboring Williamson County, certain aerial fireworks, stick rockets and missiles with fins or rudders, will not be sold due to dangerous fire conditions.
"I urge everyone to save their fireworks for a later date when conditions improve and instead attend one of the many professional fireworks shows held within the area," said Callaway. "If you are going to use fireworks, it is imperative that you follow the safety tips from my office. Folks need to remember that they can and will be held responsible for damages resulting from the use of fireworks."
Fireworks safety tips from the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Sparklers burn as hot as a welding torch and are NOT for little kids to use. Give children glow sticks to play with and leave the sparklers to the adults.
- Never lean over the fireworks when lighting them
- Don’t pick up fireworks that have not completely gone off as they may still explode
- Don't throw fireworks at each other
- Light fireworks one at a time
- After fireworks complete burning, spray them with water or put them in a bucket of water. Do NOT put them in the trash.
For more information on fireworks and home fire safety, click here.