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Posts published in June 2011

Fireworks Banned in Harris County

County Judge Ed Emmett signed a disaster declaration last week indicating that the sale of all fireworks is banned within Harris County until after the Fourth of July.
The ban does not extend to commercial displays and it is a unique ruling for a unique drought.
“All of us on Commissioners Court recognize public safety as our top responsibility,” Emmett said. “I think everyone, from Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery and local fire officials to representatives of the fireworks industry and the general public at large, understands the overwhelming need to take serious preventive action to avert disastrous wildfires from threatening our property, our homes and our families.”
Emmett’s action only restricts sales for 60 hours, but the order will be sent to Governor Perry. Perry authorized similar drought disaster declarations in 108 other counties that last until those counties lift them. All municipalities in Harris County already have such a ban.

The move was prompted by a record setting wildfire blazing West of the county and fires such as the small blaze in Huffman last week that raged to a minimum 188 acres and traversed three miles North and South.
Fireworks stores agreed not to sell the items within Harris County on their own.
Commissioners will vote on extending the countywide ban on burning by 90 days until mid-October.
Violators of the fireworks ban face a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail. Violators of the burn ban face a fine of up to $500 for each violation.
Conditions are ripe for wildfires of unpresidented magnitude, according to Emmett, “What would be a normal grassfire suddenly becomes a 50 acre fire threatening subdivisions.”
Last week firefighters from four counties and 18 different departments battled for three days what started as a roadside fire in Huffman.
Texas Forestry Service has battled 22 large fires that have burned 132,750 acres. 225 counties of 254 in Texas have burn bans.