Brown County Commissioners may not have authority to restrict the use of fireworks this summer because the Texas Forest Service has dropped its drought designation here.
“A fireworks resolution is due before June 15,” County Judge Ray West said at Monday morning’s meeting of commissioners court. “But we can’t take action unless the Texas Forest Service deems us a drought area.”
That deadline comes as commercial fireworks retailers prepare to open stores for the summer season. The days prior to July are one of two periods when such sales are allowed statewide. The other period is before New Year’s Day.
In past years, as Brown County and much of Texas endured drought conditions, commissioners have passed resolutions each year that prohibited the use of sky rockets and missiles with fins. Despite several periods of heavy rains this spring, several commissioners said dry grass remains a problem in much of the county.
“There’s grass out there that would burn this morning,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Richard Gist said.
Commissioners appeared inclined to consider another resolution for this year that would again prohibit sky rockets and missiles with fins, but the absence of a drought declaration would prevent that.
“For the past five or six years, we have had that (drought) designation,” West told commissioners.
This year, however, the Texas Forest Service shows Brown County as being in an “incipient dry spell,” West said, which falls short of a drought designation.
Commissioners discussed calling a special meeting late this week if it is determined they are allowed to regulate fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county. Fireworks are banned within municipal city limits.