Fireworks Sales Begin Despite Extreme Temperatures, Dry Conditions

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - 100-plus degree temperatures. That's the projected forecast for the next week and there could be more on the way.

With no relief in sight, that has many of you wondering why fireworks are still allowed to be sold.

Extreme heat, dry conditions, no burn bans and fireworks.

It's the perfect recipe for fires to break out, especially with Independence Day right around the corner.

"It makes me nervous," Ector County Judge, Susan Redford, said. "I'm afraid that people will see that they're not banned and not exercise necessary caution."

Judge Redford says despite the weather forecast, fireworks will be allowed this Fourth of July.

Although it may not seem like it, the conditions are actually better than they were for New Year's.

"For last Fourth of July and New Year's, our drought index was well in excess of 575, which as everybody knows by now, that's the threshold that's used to determine whether or not you can ban fireworks," Judge Redford said.

Right now, Ector County's drought index is in the 400-500 range. Midland County is at 502.

Since they're not above 575, neither County is considered to be in a severe drought situation.

"We're not at that threshold so it's not legal or viable for Ector County to even consider banning fireworks," Judge Redford said.

Midland County Fire Marshal Dale Little tells NewsWest 9 there are several factors that effect fireworks laws.

Some of those are the amount of grass, dryness, moisture and wind.

"There are other issues that come in during Christmas and New Year's that are not in the law that allows you to do it on the Fourth of July," Little said. "The law is just different in the winter and summer."

Judge Redford says she doesn't see the index reaching 575 by next week.

Fireworks vendors opened for business on Sunday.

They tell us they're doing their part by not selling rockets with fins or sticks with missiles.

Those fireworks can travel long distances.

"If it does rain, we might sell them but as of right now we're not gonna sell them," Devin Teague with Truckload Fireworks, said.

All of them are reminding residents to play it safe.

"We're not going to be able to sell fireworks if we're not safe so just please stay safe," Teague said.

Fireworks are not allowed in city limits and if you are popping off fireworks in the County, it has to be on your own property or you have to have permission from the property owner.

Little said they will be out in full force next week looking for violators and handing out tickets.