The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated Bee County and all of Texas as “primary natural disaster areas after one of the worst droughts in more than a century. The state has sustained excessive heat, high winds and wildfires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres.”
This announcement may not come as a surprise to most of us who are accustomed to living through periodic dry spells in South Texas.
However, the devastation caused by the drought, wildfires and other natural disasters this year appears to be more pronounced for our farmers and ranchers, as well as other residents.
We know this sounds like a broken record but it bears repeating. As the Fourth of July nears, Beeville police and fire officials remind citizens that it is illegal to possess or ignite fireworks within the city limits.
Those who ignore the ordinance and are caught will be fined and have their fireworks confiscated.
County residents may not shoot any aerial fireworks with sticks or fins (such as bottle rockets) because of the threat of wildfires.
And, remember, Bee County still has a burn ban in effect, so no outdoor burning of trash or brush is allowed.
The countryside remains a tinderbox, so even the possibility of a little rain at the end of the week, according to some weather forecasts, will not improve the surroundings greatly before the Fourth weekend.
Use extreme caution with any fireworks or matches, or, better yet, take the family or friends to watch one of the professional pyrotechnic displays, such as the free event Monday evening at the Expo Center.
There will even be live music, food and drinks provided before the fireworks show, so that celebration certainly tops most other alternatives – and you can’t beat the price.
Free on the Fourth seems downright patriotic. – Chip Latcham