Panhandle fire officials warn residents for upcoming New Year’s celebrations during Burn Ban

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:50 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As 2022 is just around the corner, many may choose to celebrate with fireworks, but they may be harder to come by this year.

Shoot the Moon Fireworks Amarillo has made the decision to not sell fireworks this season.

“When it was coming up on time for us to make the decision to open or not, it was so dry and we don’t want someone’s house burning down because of fireworks we sold, I personally would not be able to live with myself for that,” said Christi Hairston, owner, Shoot the Moon Fireworks Amarillo.

Hairston says although being open would have been a financially great thing for them, people’s safety is far more important.

“It’s important for everyone to be safe and it’s far more important than seeing pretty things in the air, which most of y’all know me and I love fireworks with everything I have, but everyone and livestock and land is far more important,” said Hairston.

There is currently a burn ban put in place, however Hairston says a firework ban is separate from a burn ban.

“They did not announce a firework ban, which I’m kind of surprised they didn’t,” said Hairston.

Although no firework bans are in place, fire officials are encouraging the community not to use fireworks.

“We’re in that typical dry season for the Panhandle, where we see increased wildfire risk, usually our winds are up, our relative humidities are down and our fuels in the area and form of grasses are freeze dried and ready to burn,” said Troy Ducheneaux, fire marshal, Randall County Fire Department.

Ducheneaux says with these conditions it takes any little ignition to create a wildfire condition.

He says it is important when deciding to use fireworks or not to look at the present weather conditions.

“Is there a chance that the winds are going to be up and create that drift for the sparks or hot embers coming off of those fireworks,” said Ducheneaux.

Texas A&M Forest Service says they also highly advise for fireworks not to be used, but if they are to take safety precautions.

“Make sure that you’re using them in an area that’s void of fuel such as a big parking lot or a long driveway or something like that, somewhere where sparks won’t go into any vegetation and cause a fire,” said Juan Rodriguez, wildland urban interface coordinator, Texas A&M Forest Service.

Fire officials say to have something to extinguish a fire on hand, in case one breaks out.

Ducheneaux also mentions having a safety plan for injury.

“Fireworks do tend to cause a lot of injuries with the particular holiday, we see a lot more increases of alcohol use with that and so we encourage that if you’re going to use fireworks, don’t be drinking while you’re doing,” said Ducheneaux.

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