12-6-05 - The skies over Grayson County will be a bit less colorful this holiday season. County leaders initiated a partial ban of fireworks Monday due to extremely dry conditions.
It's been a fall no firefighter wants to remember. Grassfires have plagued the county for weeks. It's dangerous, dirty work, and thanks to the drought it seems any small spark could set acres of land on fire.
But what about a big spark? Today, Grayson County commissioners voted to stop the sale and use of certain kinds of fireworks this holiday season.
Tim McGraw, Grayson County Judge, said, "We had a burn ban in effect, but that doesn't take into consideration fireworks, and I'd been approached by several people in the fire departments about trying to cut out fireworks for this season."
But the ban is not all-inclusive; only fireworks that explode in the air will be prohibited. Things like sparklers and black cats are still allowed because they explode on the ground and are considered less dangerous.
Donny Glenn, Pottsboro Fire Chief, says, "I think it’s a great thing, those bottle rockets, you may not see what's going on with them, and it can set out of control quickly."
Two fireworks vendors came to the community court to support the ban. They say they don't want to sell fireworks during the drought and they don't want their competition doing it either.
Anyone caught selling or setting off prohibited fireworks in Grayson County faces misdemeanor criminal charges. Officials admit the ban is hard to enforce, but it may be enough to keep some from breaking the law.
"The issue is there's a law against it. You shoot one off and you burn someone's house down, you're going to have a good liability case against you."
"It's going as far as it can go. The county has kept the burn ban, and cities know we're busy and we're gonna need the money. We're now depending on citizens to watch what they're doing.”
And as for those big displays that always draw a crowd? This ban won't affect those shows. It only targets areas outside city limits where the risk of grassfires is greater.
The ban is in effect now and will continue through at least New Year’s.