Mineral Wells Area News

No Fireworks Ban Yet, Still a Possibility

No Fireworks Ban Yet, Still a Possibility
June 28
16:35 2022

By Amy Bearden

The Palo Pinto County Commissioners met in regular session today and it began as usual with an opportunity for public comments. Several county residents asked the court to consider a ban on the use and sale of fireworks during these drought conditions.

County Judge Shane Long reminded the room that the commissioners can’t speak to the comments made, but stood and asked the court to allow him to speak as a citizen.

Long stood at the podium and told the court that he issued a disaster declaration on Saturday but it did not include a ban on the use and sell of fireworks because it would only allow for a 60 hour ban and then if an extension is needed, it would have to be approved by the governor.

The process of extending the ban can be very difficult, especially when the conditions for a ban are not met, and unfortunately Palo Pinto County, despite dry hazardous conditions, has not met the criteria for a ban.

Judge Long left his bench and approached the public podium as a citizen to speak about a county fireworks ban

“The numbers don’t look good for us, if I’m just being honest. If we do that ban today and 60 hours expires, we lose the effect of the Fourth of July weekend,” Long said. “I don’t want it to appear that this court is not concerned by not taking action today.”

The judge said he wants the court to know that what seems is in the best interest of Palo Pinto County may be delayed a few days because of statutory regulations.

There are very specific laws that determine these situations and county officials do not have the authority to enact a ban on the use or sale of fireworks past June 15th if certain drought conditions are not met.

The Keetch-Byrum Drought Index number is what determines the ability for a ban. A county must have a number of 575 or higher to meet the criteria. Palo Pinto County was at a 523 on the deadline and fell short of the parameters.

Mineral Wells Area News sat down with Judge Long after the meeting to speak about the situation. Watch along as we discuss the Dempsey Fire and learn more about understanding the ban situation.

County Judge Shane Long discusses the difficulty of banning fireworks within the county.

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