FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fireworks sales opened this week across Texas, ahead of a forecast that may make the holiday season feel closer to the Fourth of July.
While the winter sales period is a second season compared to what happens in July, fire officials recommended caution for people planning to celebrate.
North Texas is in a moderate drought, but with vegetation mostly dead and dormant already the warmth and dry conditions aren't as much of a concern.
Rather it's potential gusty winds that often accompany warm spells in the winter.
"Now you already have a fire load, on the ground, and with the wind, it'll push a fire. It'll get away real quick from a department," said David Butler, a deputy fire marshal in Tarrant County.
The Fire Marshals Office also put out a reminder to people this week that although fireworks are not prohibited in unincorporated areas of the county, there are still restrictions on where people can use them.
They're prohibited within 100 feet of a fireworks store, or anywhere flammable liquids or gas is stored or sold.
They also cannot be within 600 feet of churches, hospitals, or schools without permission.
Lighting them in or around cars is also prohibited.
Butler said people often run afoul of that one pulling off to the side of the road to use the fireworks.
Fireworks grew in popularity during the pandemic, when large public displays were cancelled and people tried to avoid crowds.
Fort Worth's city council heard presentations on illegal fireworks within city limits at least twice this year.
With nearly 4,500 complaint calls this summer, police admitted they don't have enough people to combat the problem.
There was a recommendation to look into setting up legal fireworks zones.
Council member Cary Moon also suggested sending information or warning letters to addresses that had been the subject of fireworks complaints.
The police department, fire department, and council members vocal about the problem were not able to say this week if the ideas were being put into action yet ahead of the New Year's holiday.
for more features.