TRAVIS COUNTY (KXAN) - Wildfires highlight why the Texas Forest Service is asking for extra caution this Fourth of July holiday.
Whether you're grilling to shooting off fireworks, Central Texas is still dealing with severe to extreme drought. It won't take much for a spark to turn into a fire.
Travis County commissioners reinstated a burn ban earlier this week, but fireworks are still legal outside of city limits.
Fireworks have been flying off the shelves at the Pyro 620 Superstore in western Travis County.
"I can honestly say that every firework in this store is cool," said Steve Matt, a Pyro 620 volunteer. "Every firework in this store is absolutely beautiful to see it go off. The recommendation is get a budget, figure out how much you want to spend on fireworks and get as much as you can, as much of a variety as you can, to meet that budget."
Matt also stresses that taking certain safety steps will keep your July 4 celebrations a fun time.
"You just want to make sure you're in a safe open area and you've taken with you some of your safety considerations, some water, maybe a fire extinguisher and you are keeping a safe distance between where you're setting off your fireworks and those you're entertaining," said Matt.
Those are tips the Travis County Fire Marshal is also stressing.
Before you shoot:
- DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN BUY FIREWORKS WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION
- Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers
- Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Find a smooth, flat surface -- away from the house and other buildings, or dry leaves and grass
- Be sure to have water handy in case of a malfunction or fire
- Always have adult supoervision.
When you're ready to shoot:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Always read and follow label directions, warnings, and instructions
- Be considerate of your neighbors
- Only ignite fireworks outdoors, and away from houses and other buildings
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks
- Light only one firework at a time
- Never try to re-Light fireworks that have not fully functioned
- Never give fireworks to small children, even sparklers can cause serious burns
- Never throw fireworks at another person, vehicle, or animal
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
- Dispose of spent fireworks properly
Another good idea is to read the instructions.
"It's important to read the instructions carefully on these fireworks," said Matt. "Every single product has instructions and they may seem basic but they are instructions and they'll tell you what kind of surface to put it on. Putting things that are going to burn on a grass surface isn't a good idea."
You won't find certain fireworks on the shelves on Pyro 620, however. They aren't carrying fireworks with fins or sticks, like bottle rockets because of the fire danger.
"A number of years ago there was a lot of pressure, in every season, to cut back on the kinds of fireworks that were most likely to cause a problem and were cited in most burn bans," said Matt. "They banned fin missiles and stick rockets, what most people referred to as bottle rockets. So we just decided a few years ago we're just not going to cover them whether they're banned or not."
The goal is to celebrate with a bang, but not a blaze.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
A 55-year-old man died in a single-vehicle crash just after midnight Monday morning near Lakeway.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.