Several East Texas Counties Ban Use Of Fireworks - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/30/05-East Texas

Several East Texas Counties Ban Use Of Fireworks

If you've bought fireworks, you'd may need to keep them stored until the fourth of July. That's because of recent grass fires and the dry weather. Several East Texas counties have banned the use of all fireworks, and counties say they are taking it seriously.

"The intent is not to fine people and make money," said Jim Seaton, Smith County Fire Marshal. "The intent is to prevent a disaster, so that you don't lose your home, you don't lose your life, and you don't end up scared."

This morning, the Smith County Commissioners Court issued an order banning the use of all combustible materials. It reads, combustible materials include, but are not limited to, fireworks, the use of fireworks, materials which are composed of sulfur or gunpowder, all tobacco products which are discarded still burning, the use of burn barrels, campfires and any other activity that could result in an outdoor fire.

"It's a serious situation," said Seaton. "If it wasn't you wouldn't see the state of Texas map where from Louisiana to almost El Paso you can't burn anything."

 Here in East Texas, every county is under a burn ban, meaning all outdoor burning is illegal. Smith County is just one of 14 counties in East Texas that are under some type of fireworks ban. The counties that have banned the use of all fireworks are Smith, Van Zandt, Henderson, Franklin, Wood, Anderson, Cherokee, Morris, Camp and Cass counties. Those that have banned the use of aerial fireworks are Rusk, Delta, Rains and Kaufman counties. Counties without a fireworks ban ask people to be careful this weekend.

"We are discouraging the use of the aerial fireworks because of the fire danger and drought conditions that exist in Gregg County," said Chad Walls, Gregg County Fire Marshal. Smith County's Fire Marshal says the court can issue a fireworks ban anytime there is a disaster potential.

"That's what the court is doing," said Seaton. "They are taking all the measures they can to prevent a disaster created by a fire."

Rusk County says it issued a ban today on the use of *all fireworks, but says the ban does not start until January 3rd. The fireworks ban throughout East Texas does not prohibit the sale of fireworks.

You can still buy them, just not use them. If caught burning outdoors or using fireworks, you could be fined up to $500.00.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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