by Victor Lopez
WEST TEXAS--The dry conditions mean there's plenty of fuel for a fire and that's got firefighters worried. Of the 12 counties NewsWest 9 contacted, some have no restrictions what so ever.
While others are doing exactly what we saw this past 4th of July, banning all open fires and limiting what fireworks vendors "can" and "cannot" sell.
Paula H, with Great St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Midland, is running the Mr "W" Super Store in West Odessa. And she's doing it, just like she did for July 4th, "The only things we were banned from selling were rockets and missles. So I automatically decided, no rockets and missles this time either."
Some fireworks stands, like Truckload Fireworks, have pushed back their opening date, bringing a sigh of relief from volunteer firefighters.
"That's helped us a bunch. That's dropped down the recreational, the kids during the daytime, setting fires with them. That slows it down," West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jimmy Ellis, said.
Ellis says right now, Ector County is 4 inches behind in rainfall for the year. With no burn ban in effect, conditions are ripe for fire, "We're very dry. We're as dry now as when we had the earlier problems in first of Spring. We still have the fuel loads. There's still a lot of fuel out here to burn," Ellis said.
Although Hudspeth's sales will benefit her Church, she's asking everyone who's buying fireworks this year, to play it safe, "Please follow those guidelines and be safe."
Ellis seconds that suggestion, "We're not supposed to have too much wind over the next few days, so maybe everybody will be a little more responsible and pay attention to what they're doing."
If you are planning to set off fireworks this New Year's Eve, make sure they are allowed in the County where you live. Also remember you cannot set them off inside city limits or on the side of a public roadway. Also keep a shovel, a container of water, or even a small fire extinguisher handy, just in case a spark gets away from you.