Fire departments monitoring wind, drought conditions ahead of July 4 celebrations

Fire departments monitoring wind, drought conditions ahead of July 4 celebrations
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - As Fourth of July celebrations get underway, fire marshals across East Texas will be more concerned about keeping their eyes on the drought and wind conditions that could turn a firework show into an inferno. 

Emergency officials will be working around the clock making sure celebrations go off without a hitch. 

"There's always concerns when we're starting into a firework season," says Chad Hogue, Smith County assistant fire marshal. He said conditions leading into the July 4 weekend are safe enough for popping fireworks, but his department would be keeping a watchful eye.

"We're keeping an eye on the weather, we're watching the drought index, also monitoring how many grass fires we have and how significant they are," Hogue says.

In Tyler, Fire Chief David Coble says his department would also be taking safety precautions at firework displays throughout the city.

"The show tonight, we have our command vehicle out there, we have a ladder truck, and then we'll have a brush truck and an engine company there in case there's any misfires or embers that wander off into a field," Coble says.

As for those planning to set off fireworks on their own, Hogue says it's all about finding a safe, secure area.

"They need to select an area to use fireworks that's clear of buildings, obstructions and tall vegetation, any kind of build up of leaves or combustible materials," says Hogue. "It's a good idea to have a way to extinguish a small fire when you're popping fireworks."

Chief Coble wants to remind anyone living in Tyler that fireworks are illegal within city limits. Those caught setting them off could receive a ticket and fine up to $2,000.

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