Fireworks are certainly not the only way grass fires can begin. Any activity that generates sparks can do that. A carelessly tossed cigarette is sometimes the source. A “controlled” burn can do it when control is suddenly lost. Even a motor vehicle’s hot exhaust can be the culprit if it is driven across a field with tall grass and weeds.

But at this time of the year, when the sale and use of fireworks in rural, unincorporated areas are legal, the fire-prevention focus is certainly on consumer pyrotechnics.

The National Weather Service in San Angelo has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the first few days of the new year that covers a broad area of Texas including Brownwood. A combination of existing dry conditions, higher than normal temperatures, breezy conditions and low relative humidity make it even more imperative that caution be used with fireworks and any other activity that can generate sparks.

A burn ban exists in Brown County and most other surrounding areas, and outdoor burning and fireworks use are always prohibited within city limits. With fire hazards in mind, Brown County Commissioners have also placed restrictions on the types of fireworks that can be used.

New Year’s Eve and the first few hours of New Year’s Day can be especially dangerous for motorists, because the chance of meeting an intoxicated driver is increased. Fire can be just as deadly. All residents should celebrate the arrival of 2009 prudently to ensure that the holiday is memorable for all the right reasons.

Brownwood Bulletin