Fire Crews Ready to Go For Holiday Weekend

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Local fire departments are ready to go this Fourth of July weekend.

Although fireworks are banned in several West Texas counties, crews are still on high alert for any fires that may break out due to someone violating the ban.

"The fire departments, the local people take extra precautions because of this," Asst. Fire Marshal David Hickman, said. "We want people to celebrate the Fourth of July."

But they also want you to leave it up to the professionals. Midland County is just one of dozens of counties across the state who have banned the use, sale or possession of fireworks.

Under Governor Rick Perry's disaster declaration, only licensed pyrotechnicians are allowed to light up the sky this holiday weekend.

"Some of these fireworks are large. We're talking about mortars that are five inches in diameter or larger," Hickman said. "They have to wear protective clothing, they have fire extinguishers on hand. They have to be licensed and bonded as well as insured."

Hickman said they'll have units in place to make sure the Midland Rockhounds fireworks show runs smoothly.

"By law, we have to keep a 3,000 ft. perimeter around the fireworks display," he said.

But the fireworks ban doesn't mean others won't try to have fun on their own.

"If anything gets out of hand and we're requested to come help, then we'll be there as a support to the locals," Patrick Allen said.

Allen, with the Texas Forest Service, said they'll be ready to assist this weekend if necessary.

"We have two task forces here that are based out of Midland which is nine fire engines and four dozers," Allen said.

Allen says being prepared is key in case a fire sparks up and both fire officials hope West Texans can celebrate safely.

"Things such as clearing dense and dead vegetation from around structures, having an evacuation plan," Allen said. "We want West Texas residents to help everybody celebrate a fire free Fourth of July holiday and weekend."