Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dry Conditions Force Texas Fireworks Ban

Many counties in the state of Texas have banned all fireworks ahead of New Years Eve, because extremely dry conditions and high winds are threatening to turn the state into a huge brush fire this holiday weekend. The past week there have been hundreds of fires, statewide, that have destroy dozens of homes and left many people dead.

The state of Texas along with Oklahoma are experiencing sever drought conditions and it doesn't take much for a small fire to get out of control since all the open prairies in the area are all dead, brown and dried out from lack of water.

The area in live in, Central Texas, which includes the cities Waco, Temple and Killeen have been hit hard by wildfires the past week and the wind conditions around here are worse than I've seen them in a long time. Up north of us in Tarrant county there have also been many fires around the DFW area and firefighters are stretched pretty thin, as it is, without the potential added problems of fireworks for New Years Eve celebrations.

I would think that common sense would keep folks from setting off fireworks this year because of the dry conditions, but some people just don't have any common sense and if authorities don't tell them not to do something, they are going to do it. Some will do it anyway and I hope those folks end up with a big fine or in jail for a couple of days to think about their actions. They probably won't learn anything, but like I always say, they won't be starting any new fires while they are in jail.

I saw on the local news today, that some county governments can pass laws to forbid fireworks, but their legal council told them they could not impose fines or jail time for those that violate this law. This is crazy, how can you have a law without some kind of punishment for violators? I guess the state legislature will have to revise or create new law so these kinds of fireworks bans can be enforced in future years.

Cable television in our area covers live fireworks displays anyway and it's really more fun to watch them on television than getting out in the bad weather and setting them off yourself. The big problem with New Years Eve fireworks is the fact that the other big product that is purchased over this weekend, alcohol, makes some people think they are invincible and they will do stupid stuff they wouldn't think of doing if they were not drinking.

The governor, county leaders and mayors all around the state of Texas have been on television all day encouraging people to please not set off fireworks this weekend and I certainly hope most will heed their warnings. Texas has a huge rural population and there are farm and ranch homes all over the state that could be threatened by these wildfire, if people don't abstain from using them this year. I sure hope my fellow citizens are listening.

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