ROANOKE, Texas - For some North Texans, plans to celebrate the Fourth of July may have been altered after disaster declarations were issued, banning fireworks in some counties.
The Cresson Volunteer Fire Department has been busy the last several days running on grass fires. It’s one of the reasons the Hood County has a burn ban and a disaster declaration that also bans the use of fireworks in the county.
In Palo Pinto County the Surprise wild fire has burned more than 3,200 acres in less than two days. But crews have made progress and the fire is now 40 percent contained. No injuries have been reported and no evacuations have been ordered.
Palo Pinto has joined Hood, Parker, Johnson and Erath counties with similar disaster declarations. They do not ban the sale of fireworks but do ban the use of fireworks in those counties for 60 hours or through the end of the Fourth of July holiday.
Getting past the fireworks won’t eliminate the threat of fires.
“We’re still gonna have dry grass, dry trees and shrubs all the way through August or September. Unless we have a significant rain event we are going to have an issue all summer long,” said Stephen Bisbee with the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department.
Fireworks vendors in the counties were the use of fireworks has been banned said they have seen a drop off in sales. Customers who come in are buying smaller types of fireworks and say they are planning to go where they can use them legally.
In Fort Worth, the fire department is putting arson investigators in cars with police officers Wednesday night so they can be right there when they investigate calls about illegal fireworks. Tarrant County’s burn ban doesn’t include fireworks but they are not permitted within city limits.
The fines for the illegal use of fireworks can range from $500 to up to $2,000 in Fort Worth.
“It’s fun but then once something happens then it’s out of control and they’re helpless,” said Lt. Kerry Brown with the Argyle Fire District.
“I would highly discourage that now with the humidity and the dryness we’ve had and the potential for the fire to get out of hand and cause damage,” added Doug Parks, the Roanoke Fire Marshal.
Burn bans are in effect for Wise, Denton, Stephens, Palo Pinto, Parker, Tarrant, Kaufman, Eastland, Erath, Hood, Somervell, Johnson, Ellis, Navarro, Henderson, Bosque, Hill, Limestone and Freestone counties.