Burn bans in effect ahead of Fourth of July

The threat of brush fires has led to burn bans in some North Texas counties and warnings from others. However, that hasn't stopped fireworks businesses from making sales.

Fireworks World is helping Wise County to promote fireworks safety. The county says the National Weather Service elevated the fire danger on Friday so a burn ban is now in effect.

Dried vegetation, drought and wind are the triple threat for grass fires. Fireworks add to the risk. Fire officials from three counties are spreading a safety message this Fourth of July.

"Our biggest concern is the property loss, the grass fires, the barn fires, hay fires, people not paying attention with the fireworks they shoot,” said Tarrant County Fire Marshal Randy Renois.

State law allows counties to ban rockets with sticks and fins if the drought reaches dangerous levels by June 15.

"We have to meet certain conditions before we can restrict fireworks,” said Cody Powell with the Wise County Emergency Management Office.

This year, the critical dry conditions developed after the deadline so the fireworks are still legal to be sold in Parker, Wise, Denton and Tarrant counties.

"There's so many things, as far as fireworks are concerned, that can cause a fire besides bottle rockets,” Powell said.

Wise and Parker counties have burn bans in effect. Tarrant County will have one by Tuesday and Denton County later next week.

"It doesn't take an expert to look and determine it's dry, too high of winds or near an area that could start a large grass fire,” said Denton County Fire Marshal Jody Gonzalez.

Fireworks World paid so Wise County could buy full page ads in two newspapers and had them printed as safety posters for every fireworks stand in Wise County.

"If you get people to listen and think about it, most people are gonna help you,” Renois said. “And that's what we need now. We need help."

Fire officials say popping fireworks outside the city limits may make be legal, but it doesn't make it safe. They say find an area with dirt or other non-grassy area and maybe even have a fire extinguisher nearby.

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