TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - Firework sales are legal again, but only for the Fourth of July season.
Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee announced that people may buy and use fireworks for personal use, including often-restricted fireworks such as "rockets with sticks" or "missiles with fins."
As of Tuesday, the Commissioners Court has no legal basis to restrict the sale of fireworks this July 4 holiday season because the spring rains helped to ease the drought.
Chester Davis, owner of the American Fireworks in Bastrop, is thankful for the drought's abatement.
"It's going to make for a tremendous fireworks season if we continue on the pace we're on where we have green grass and get a little more rain between here and the fourth of July," Davis said.
If the court does decide to take regulatory action, it must do so before Saturday.
The only other way firework sales can be restricted is if the county judge makes a "local disaster declaration." If that happens, the fire marshal would make appropriate bans as needed.
According to Lee's announcement, severe dry conditions are unlikely to return in the coming weeks, meaning things are looking up for those who wish to celebrate with fireworks.
"I think that with the recent rain it's not that bad," Austin resident Andrew Murov said. "Although I know that give a few more weeks without it, it could be pretty dangerous."
Drought has severely limited central Texans' Independence Day celebrations in the past.
During the 2011 Fourth of July season, Travis County put a full ban on all fireworks . That meant none for personal use, and no public show. The Austin Symphony, which performs at the annual show, said that was the first time in the event's 35-year history there would not be fireworks.
For those ringing in the 2012 New Year, firework sales were permitted at the end of 2011 -- just not inside city limits. Although personal fireworks were banned, Austin's public fireworks show at Auditorium Shores was allowed to go on.
As for the 2012 Fourth of July season, fireworks were still banned in most incorporated cities --- including Austin -- but were allowed for personal use in outlying counties like Travis, Hays and Williamson. Again, the public show was not affected.
And finally, just months ago for the 2013 New Year, restrictions were still more strict than they are now. Skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins were prohibited, but other fireworks could be legally sold in Travis County for personal use.
No matter what the situation or ban status may be, the fire marshal always urges safety and caution when using, interacting with, or watching fireworks. You can read a full list of their safety tips here .
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