On Monday, county commissioners banned the sale and use of aerial fireworks this holiday.
This was a concession of what was initially proposed by County Judge David Silva.
“My recommendation and I don’t know if I will make it into a motion is that we ban all fireworks,” Silva said.
Commissioners discussed the ramifications of the ban, expressing concern not only for the fireworks vendors but also those who have planned activities.
“The thing is right now and my feeling is, let’s ban all fireworks — but we can’t do that, right?” Silva said.
Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez chimed in that Bexar County has banned all fireworks in that county because of the dry conditions.
David Morgan, emergency management coordinator, said, “The court can do it...
“I might remind the court that so far this year, over 2 1/2 million acres have burned in Texas and almost 8,000 non-structural fires have been reported this year.”
Silva said he was concerned that the combination of dry grass in the county and pyrotechnics could spell disaster.
“July Fourth will be on a Monday but they will start popping on Friday,” Silva said.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Bee County is classified in the severe to exceptional range.
According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures potential fire danger, the threat for wildfires remains severe for the county.
Rodriguez reminded his fellow commissioners that if they intended to ban some or all fireworks, they need to make a decision quickly to allow proper notice to those selling fireworks.
“If we are going to do anything, we need to do it today to give the vendors notice,” he said.
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt suggested they get a recommendation from the county fire department as to the issuing of a ban.
Morgan, after a break in the discussion, said, “I spoke with the fire chief and his recommendation is that we continue as we have in the past — just ban the aerial type of fireworks.
“He bases that on the 60 years that he has been a firefighter...”
“Any other time when we had severe drought like we have now, we have not had any major fires when we restricted the aerial fireworks.
“His recommendation was to restrict as we have in the past so that it doesn’t affect any celebrations that have been planned.”
Morgan also assured commissioners that the vendors would be notified of the ban.
He added that each would be checked to make sure they aren’t selling any of the banned pyrotechnics.
“I went around to a majority of the fireworks vendors [during the last ban] and they had their signs posted and they didn’t have those types of fireworks for sale.”
In other news, commissioners:
• Accepted Beeville ISD’s offer of $1.42 per parcel for the county tax assessor-collector to levy and collect taxes.
• Approved the three-year lease of a four-door pickup from David Stanley Ford in Oklahoma City by the Bee Community Action Agency. Only one bid was received for a truck and the company agreed to deliver to Bee County.
• Approved a memorandum of understanding between Bee County and the Department of the Army Community Based Warrior transition unit.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.