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No fireworks on the Fourth, county says

June 14, 2011

Howard County commissioners approved a county-wide ban on fireworks Monday in hopes of staving off a wave of grass and wildfires during the July 4 holiday.

According to County Judge Mark Barr, the ban — which was signed into effect via a disaster declaration — was approved by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, extending what would have been a 60-hour ban until July 5.

“A county judge can sign a disaster declaration into effect, but the governor has to sign off on it for it to last any longer,” Barr said. “In this case, the ban will be in place until July 5. It's no secret just how dry it is out there, and the danger posed by fireworks — any fireworks, not just those that fly — is tremendous. We're hoping this ban will help us avoid the loss of property and possibly lives during the holiday.”

Barr said punishment for breaking the ban will be severe.

“It is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and up to 180 days in jail,” Barr said. “I've already instructed the sheriff we will have zero tolerance on this issue, and if someone gets caught, they can expect to do some jail time.”

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