Caution still needed despite lift on burn bans

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With no burn bans in place in Central Texas, Fourth of July fireworks have a green light. However, the Texas A&M Forest Service warns it’s still best to proceed with caution.

“In Texas there are currently no areas of concern over the holiday but it’s still important locally to be careful with the use of fireworks,” Texas A&M Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer said. “It’s still possible to start a fire.”

Daniel Stroud biked 30 miles to McKinney Falls State Park Wednesday. He plans to camp for the night. The campground is booked for the holiday weekend and campfires are allowed. Stroud says he knows how to put a fire out properly because of his Boy Scout training.

“Fortunately, we’re not in the total wilderness here so I think we can keep an eye on things and they have little fire pits here so I feel pretty safe,” he said.

Another holiday favorite, fireworks, is not allowed at McKinney Falls State Park or within Austin city limits.

At Mr. W’s Fireworks on U.S. Highway 183 Carl Goericke expects business to pick up starting Thursday. He says there are steps to take for a having safe show.

“Read the packaging. The packaging will tell you what each product does,” said Goericke, the stand’s operator. “Do it where it’s a flat level area, if you can, on gravel, on dry dirt, on pavement, things like that.”

The Travis County Fire Marshal has these safety tips when using fireworks.

Before you shoot:

  • DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN BUY FIREWORKS WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION
  • Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers
  • Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
  • Find a smooth, flat surface — away from the house and other buildings, or dry leaves and grass
  • Be sure to have water handy in case of a malfunction or fire
  • ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION!

When you’re ready to shoot:

  • NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH OR IGNITE FIREWORKS
  • Always read and follow label directions, warnings, and instructions
  • Be considerate of your neighbors
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors, and away from houses and other buildings
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Light only one firework at a time
  • Nevertry to re-Iightfireworks that have not fully functioned
  • Never give fireworks to small children, even sparklers can cause serious burns
  • Neverthrow fireworks at another person, vehicle, or animal
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • Dispose of spent fireworks properly

While the grass is green, Goericke warns a fire will dry it out quickly and spread fast.

Plants have grown with the recent rain and are still green, but without more rain and as the plants dry, there will be more fuel for fires in the coming months.

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