TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Monday, the Travis County fire marshal said certain fireworks vendors have voluntarily decided to not sell certain aerial fireworks even though a fireworks ban is not in place.
“We love the counties in which we live in and operate in,” said Chester Davis, owner of American Fireworks. “And we like to be good stewards of the county.”
Currently, Bastrop County is the only Central Texas county with a fireworks ban on “missiles with fins” and “stick rockets.”
All other Central Texas counties are only under a burn ban due to drought conditions, which is only getting worse with each day of no rain.
Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway said under state law, a burn ban and a fireworks ban do not go hand in hand.
“Unfortunately, in the state of Texas currently under state statute to limit or restrict fireworks it ties us to one particular measurement tool,” said Callaway.
The soil moisture deficit has to hit a certain point on the Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI) scale before Travis County can impose a ban on certain fireworks. Callaway said the northwest part of the county exceeds the criteria, but the average of the entire county has not.
The county would have had to meet the criteria by June 15 to meet the deadline for a ban on the Fourth of July.
The county judge can also ask the governor for an emergency ban on fireworks under a local disaster declaration which would be implemented within 60 hours.
Miguel Lopez says he can legally shoot fireworks on his land outside the city limits of Buda, but is deciding against it.
“I don’t think it’s right for me to be doing that especially with the entire neighborhood at risk,” said Lopez.
Callaway can only hope other people follow suit, and chose to attend public shows instead.