Released by Smith County Commissioners Court:
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Smith County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to restrict the sale and use of certain aerial fireworks outside of city limits for the Fourth of July Fireworks season and as needed during existence of drought conditions.
The ban applies to the sale and use of fireworks that are "rockets with sticks" or "missiles with fins." A violation of a Commissioners Court fireworks restriction is a Class C misdemeanor under state law. The ban will not have any effect on commercial displays of fireworks.
First Assistant Smith County Fire Marshall Oren Hale told the court Tuesday morning that the ban needed to be implemented due to dry conditions and the unpredictable nature of aerial fireworks.
"This is a small percentage of fireworks sold," Hale said. "They are unstable. These types of fireworks are supposed to go in the air and burn up before they hit the ground. Unfortunately, many times they do not take that path."
As of Tuesday, no burn ban has been issued for Smith County. Hale reported that the drought index in Smith County was 624, and that local fire departments had battled approximately 100 acres of wildfire due careless burning in the past seven days. According to Hale the Fire Marshalls office monitors the drought index, the volume of fires reported and severity of the fires to determine when a burn ban is warranted.
Hale said the Fire Marshall's office is monitoring the situation closely.
"We try to hold off on asking for a burn ban as long as possible, due to the economic impact it can have the area," Hale said.