We've been talking about fireworks in Tom Green County for quite awhile.  It has been quite a roller coaster ride as we careen to the 4th of July holiday in the midst of increasingly dangerous drought conditions. Up until now, there have been no proclamations banning fireworks in the county.  That changed today.

A Tom Green County Judge has now declared the county "a disaster" and has banned all outdoor burning and the "sale, use and discharge of all fireworks in Tom Green County".  This declaration covers the next 60 hours, which means it will end well before the 4th of July, but a request was sent to the governor to extend the ban.  That will depend on the governor's office.

Photo by Fabienne FILIPPONE on Unsplash
Photo by Fabienne FILIPPONE on Unsplash

This Declaration of Disaster and Order prohibits the use, sale, and discharge of all fireworks in Tom Green County. It also prohibits all outdoor burning of any combustibles like wood, rubber, coal or charcoal.  Leave the charcoal and lighter fluids inside until the ban is over.

Tom Green County Judge, Steve Floyd made the decision based on an April 1st wildfire disaster declaration made by Governor Greg Abbott. That coupled with the official U.S. Drought Monitor which shows that 2022 is the 5th driest year in 128 years. Also, The KBDI index which determines fire conditions has reached 602, which is higher than the threshold for counties to ban outdoor burning, which is 575.

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Violating the ban can result in a $1000 fine.

It is not all bad news, though. The ban allows commercial fireworks displays, like the ones in downtown San Angelo, and also allows outdoor cooking with propane or natural gas grills. It also allows welders to ply their trade.

So while Tom Green County doesn't look like a disaster, it definitely could if a wild fire caused by careless burning or fireworks gets out of control. We need to hope for rain, and at this point, it will take a lot.  That is not now on the horizon.

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