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rise to more typical levels, the ban is automatically rescinded and the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
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
There are many precautions that everyone should
heed when enjoying fireworks:
How many people do fireworks injure each year?
Always read and follow the directions carefully
Only ignite fireworks outside in a well-cleared area
Have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks
Light fireworks one item at a time
Have a bucket of water available to dispose of used
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
- 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.