TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Fire departments throughout Central Texas have extra staff on hand during the drier-than-normal holiday weekend.
“Fourth of July is always busy for us as it relates to grass fires, brush fires and even structure fires,” said Battalion Chief Josh Portie with the Austin Fire Department’s (AFD) wildfire division.
He says the recent rain has dropped the fire risk from “very high” to “moderate,” but some areas are still dryer – and more flammable – than others.
“If you drive around Austin/Travis county you can see lots of places we’ve got some green up that’s coming from that rain and you’ve got some places still that are very dry,” Portie said.
According to the Texas Pyrotechnics Association, fireworks sales are picking up this weekend thanks to recent rain, a voluntary ban on stick rockets and missiles, and businesses’ safety education efforts.
Chester Davis, the owner of American Fireworks, says his sales are on par with typical years. When it comes to safety, he urges anyone using fireworks to check for warning labels, not make fireworks from scratch at home and keep a bucket of water nearby.