“We are talking specifically the aerial fireworks with fins and sticks,” said Bee County Judge David Silva.
This ban of fireworks came at the recommendation of Robert Bridge, emergency management coordinator, during Monday’s Commissioners Court meeting.
Bridge, however, did not recommend that the burn ban be placed back on the agenda.
Bridge said, “I always consult with all the fire chiefs.
“They all felt very comfortable going for another couple of weeks.
“More than likely after this cold spell here, they will suggest we ask for a burn ban.”
Bridge said that he and the fire chiefs would like to hold off as long as they can.
“There is a need for people to get rid of the underbrush and growth. They still needed some more time to do that.”
Currently, the county is listed in the 500-600 range on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index.
This index is the standard used to designate the potential for wildfires. The higher the number, the greater the risk.
The county is currently at the threshold of what is considered to be “in danger.”
Commissioners will meet next at 9 a.m. Dec. 31 and could discuss the burn ban then or sooner if an emergency meeting is called prior.
The aerial fireworks are a different story.
“When people are burning, they use a lot of caution,” Bridge said. “The farmers will burn early in the mornings when the dew is on the ground. They will disk around the brush piles and use all the precautions they can.
“When people use fireworks, it is in the late afternoon and early evening, and there is no dew.
“With the aerial fireworks, there is no control of where they go.
“Sometimes they go north. Sometimes they go east, south or west.
“Sometimes, they land on rooftops.”
Because of this erratic and unpredictable nature, it is best, he said, to not allow the bottle rocket style fireworks considering the drought conditions.
“A lot of cities will ban them all the time,” Bridge said.
To Bee County’s west, the Live Oak County commissioners also approved a ban on aerial fireworks.
Like Bee County, these commissioners also agreed to allow the purchase and use of traditional, ground-style fireworks such as firecrackers.
During the Live Oak meeting, that county’s fire chief, Lonnie Messer, told the court that it was bottle rockets that started the fire that was consuming the dry bed of Lake Corpus Christi.
The lake is at 17 percent capacity, a low level of which most people aren’t aware.
The fire had begun on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, and had burned down to smoldering before reigniting.
Messer added then that the fire would not go out until all the timber breaks down. The fire, thought to have been out, rekindled last week.
Just to the east in Goliad County, volunteer firefighters battled several grass fires earlier this week.
Those commissioners on Monday implemented a burn ban to curtail the wildfires.
In other news, commissioners
•Approved making Bridge an overtime exempt employee. “My contention is I should be an exempt employee,” he told the court. “During a hurricane or some type of natural disaster, it may involve lots and lots of hours, and I would not want to place the county in a position to have to pay that much overtime. All I am asking for is a day off here and there to compensate for that.”
• Approved payment of county bills.
• Approved numerous items relating to the Bee Community Action Agency including performance reports, minutes from meetings and credit card statements.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.