Firefighters Remain on Standby for Possible Grassfires

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN- The 4th of July is usually one of the busiest times for firefighters in the Basin. On Friday night, there was some small fires and several people were caught shooting fireworks in city limits. But according to the Midland Fire Department this 4th of July season has being very rare.

"We were very pleased for the outcome, we were surprised," David Hickman, Midland Fire Department, said.

Fire fighters across West Texas were ready for this 4th of July season. They know a small spark could start a big fire.

"You know we put resources together for this. We have our county volunteer fire department on stand by, we have people on standby that are assigned just for grass fires and we put our resources together and fortunately we did not need them," Hickman said.

But with a lift of the firework ban in Ector County trash has been piling up.  Saturday morning crews were picking up empty shells around West Odessa.  According to Jimmy Ellis, certain conditions have helped to keep fires down this 4th of July.

"The humidity is kind of high so that of helps, the winds are kind of shifting a little help so we are hoping for the best; you plan for the worst and hope for the best," Chief Jimmy Ellis, West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department, said.

And it was nearly the best for firefighters in Midland County which still had a ban in place.

"Our fires have dropped dramatically and it's because of the fireworks ban. The rain probably helped a little bit, but still conditions are very dry and we are very pleased with the results and that goes to show how dangerous fireworks can be," Hickman said.

Firefighters say it's illegal to possess or shoot fireworks in city limits. Hickman says if you live in Midland County you can shoot fireworks.  But it has to be on your property or if it's on someone else's you must have a written permission to be there. If you shoot fireworks illegally, you could see a pricy fine.