Have a safe new year
by Chip Latcham
Jan 02, 2013 | 1501 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By the time you all are reading this, 2013 has arrived – hopefully without a bang.

A reminder for those who still feel the need to celebrate the new year with a brilliant display of pyrotechnics, Bee County banned the use of aerial fireworks this holiday season.

And, as of Monday morning, the Bee County commissioners ordered a ban on outdoor burning starting immediately.

Robert Bridge, emergency management coordinator, said that his concern, and also of the area fire chiefs, was the amount of dead, flammable grass on the ground. Firefighters have battled several grass and brush fires in recent weeks.

At a December meeting, when the court banned fireworks, County Judge David Silva said, “We are talking specifically the aerial fireworks with fins and sticks.” The ban does not apply to firecrackers and sparklers, yet they should be monitored closely.

According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index used to determine the potential for wildfires, the county is currently at the threshold of what is considered to be “in danger.”

As Bridge pointed out then, there is no controlling where aerial fireworks will go, perhaps in an overgrown field near a rural house. “Sometimes, they land on rooftops.”

It is best, he said, not to allow the bottle rocket style fireworks, considering the drought conditions.

Police Chief Joe Treviño said that Beeville residents and visitors may possess fireworks in the city limits, but not “with the intent to use them in the city.”

He added, “We have a zero tolerance policy. If people are using them, they will receive a citation and we will confiscate their fireworks.”

Out in the country, they should be put aside for now as well. Lake Corpus Christi’s dry lakebed has caught fire several times in recent weeks, started by bottle rockets, according to Swinney Swith VFD Fire Chief Lonnie Messer.

Although the drizzle and showers over the last three days have been nice, it still would make sense to use caution with anything that could cause a fire until this region is safely out of this drought.

– Chip Latcham
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