EASTLAND Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- As the Country looks forward to the 4th of July, Big Country residents can’t help but be reminded of the tragedies of the past few months during the Mesquite Heat and Eastland Complex fires.
“Several thousand acres burned to the ground we have farmers that don’t have hay now, I mean we lost a life,” says Eastland County Sheriff Jason Weger.
Those memories and continuing drought conditions prompted Eastland County Judge Rex Fields to ban the sale and use of fireworks for this holiday season, a decision he and the Eastland County commissioners came to after much deliberation.
“You have to make a decision based on the greater good and we certainly do not want any fires coming through Eastland County,” says Fields.
The ban, put into effect Monday, will last 60 hours. To that end – Judge Fields has submitted a request to Governor Abbott to extend the ban through the holiday.
“I anticipate the Governor will probably extend the ban on fireworks all the way through the 4th of July because of the wildfires we’ve had and because of drought conditions being so high,” Fields says.
This ban has been well received by local retailers in Eastland County.
“So far – it’s been pretty positive. We have some fireworks stands that have voluntarily not opened,” Weger says.
Those retailers are missing out on this year’s profits but for a good reason.
“That’s a big hit, but I totally understand,” says Owner of Boombah Fireworks in Abilene, Lex Smith.
Though Smith will not be facing the Eastland County ban, she says those in her profession do not take the law lightly.
“We actually attend those commissioners court meetings. Honoring the decisions they make is so important to us,” says Smith.
And while the Eastland County ban prohibits fireworks of any kind – the Taylor county ban applies only to “aerial fireworks” defined in the declaration as, “skyrockets with sticks and those items classified as rockets or missiles.”
“When you hear aerial, you think ‘oh that goes into the air, it must be every big thing’ but that’s not really true,” Smith says.
Meaning traditional ‘artillery shells’ and many fan favorites will still be up for sale and use in Taylor County.
And those in Eastland County can look forward to a celebration with a little less boom but no less meaning.
“Everything except fireworks…Family and swimming and boating and food,” Fields says.
“It’s not like we won’t have fireworks again. It’s just a really bad year with really bad conditions to be shooting off flames into the air,” says Weger.