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Frequently Asked Questions About Fireworks 
Texas Pyrotechnic Association – 2002 

Parts of Texas are experiencing extremely dry weather conditions.  How can citizens participate safely?
If the proper safety guidelines are followed, fireworks can be used safely. Contact your local government to learn more about its fireworks laws and if any types of fireworks are restricted. Licensed fireworks stands will not sell fireworks that are not permitted by the local government. 

Who decides if some fireworks are restricted?
In extreme drought conditions, each county’s commissioner’s court can ban the sale and use of certain types of aerial fireworks. Texas law states that counties must decide to impose these restrictions on or before June 15th. Vast arrays of fireworks are still legal to use in these counties. If the area later receives rainfall and moisture levels rise to more typical levels, the ban is automatically rescinded and the previously banned fireworks are permitted.

Which aerial fireworks may be banned by counties during a drought?
State law provides that counties may outlaw the use of certain aerial fireworks once the Texas Forest Service has determined that drought conditions exist and counties have adopted the ban. The items, which may be banned, include all types of missiles with fins and stick rockets. 

If a burn ban is in effect in my county, does that apply to fireworks?
No. A fire ban or burn ban is different from a fireworks ban.  County Commissioners Courts have the authority to enact “burn bans” for all or part of their counties, once drought and heat have reached levels that are determined by the counties to be appropriate for a ban.  These burn bans can outlaw or limit outdoor activities that generate fire or the danger of fire, but the burn ban does not extend to the specific use of aerial fireworks. Specific state law has been enacted to give counties the ability to control the use of certain aerial fireworks during drought conditions. This authority is in place of, not in addition to, county burn bans.

What precautions should people take when using fireworks this Fourth of July?
There are many precautions that everyone should heed when enjoying fireworks:

  • Always read and follow the directions carefully
  • Only ignite fireworks outside in a well-cleared area
  • Have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks activities
  • Light fireworks one item at a time
  • Have a bucket of water available to dispose of used fireworks
How many people do fireworks injure each year?
Although the number of people enjoying fireworks today is significantly greater than ever before, the fireworks industry's numerous safety campaigns and consumer education programs are paying off, as evidenced by the 44 percent decrease in the injury rate of fireworks-related accidents. Unfortunately, a large majority of these injuries are the result of the misuse of legal consumer items or the use of illegal explosives. 

How can we best enjoy a fireworks display?

  • Don't get too close. Sitting at least 500 feet from the fireworks provides the best view of the show.
  • Watch for the quality and brightness of the colors. Deep blue and dazzling white are especially difficult to produce. Count the number of explosions in a shell. High-quality display shells may have multiple explosions that vary in color. There should be no lag time in a professional show. There should always be something going on for you to enjoy.
  • Resist the temptation to keep any leftover material you may find after a show. The professionals that put on the display will clean up all materials afterwards.
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