Ector County Will Not Ban Fireworks For New Year's

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - For some families, it's a tradition and it looks like those who live in Ector County will once again be allowed to welcome in the New Year with fireworks. However, not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

Fireworks stands will soon be open for business, people who live within the city limits will make their way out to the county to welcome a new year.

County Judge Susan Redford explained why the county is not banning fireworks this year.

"The standard that you look at is if your median drought index is 575, that triggers the ability to ban fireworks. We are still far below that looking just today, our median index is 494 so we don't qualify to be able to fall into that category for an outright ban," Redford said.

Andrew Gambs, who has been with the Odessa Volunteer Fire Department for 8 years, says that doesn't spell good news but he says no matter what the county decides to do for that day the West Odessa Fire Department will be manned.

"I think we do need to go ahead and ban it, but it is the county's decision. We are going to be out here regardless of a ban or no ban," Gambs said.

NewsWest 9 asked Redford if high winds were to become a problem would they consider banning fireworks for New Year's Eve she says right now it's too late to reverse their decision.

"The deadline to be able to ban the aerial fireworks is December 15 by law. Of course, we are beyond the point where we can post a meeting to have a legal meeting. By the 15th, you have to have 72 hours notice for that, and so from this point on, it's not legal for us to even consider that," Redford said.

Gambs recommends those who will be popping fireworks on New Year's Eve to be careful. Always have a fire extinguisher, but most importantly he recommends Ector County residents use their common sense while welcoming in a New Year.

"Bring your common sense, 99 percent of fires that are started are because of lack of common sense. Just be smart, be safe, have fun but most of all be safe," Gambs said.