Two types of fireworks are banned in Travis County because of drought conditions and the imminent threat of wildfire, the commissioners court decided Dec. 14 in a special voting session.
To restrict fireworks sales, the Keech-Byram Drought Index must be at least 575, according to Hershel Lee, Travis County fire marshal. The drought index scale ranges from zero to 800, with zero representing complete saturation and 800 indicating completely dry soil.
The average drought index was 550 throughout Travis County as of Dec. 14, but County Judge Samuel Biscoe declared a local disaster based on the wildfire threat, and the Commissioners Court approved the declaration, which will last for the immediate future.
Under the ban, the use and sale of fireworks described as “missiles with fins and skyrockets with sticks” are not allowed in Travis County. The fireworks industry's winter retail season lasts from Dec. 20–Jan. 1.
The ban means a person selling or using these restricted fireworks is committing a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500, according to court documents.
“We can also prevent people from using them even if they've purchased them somewhere else,” Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt said.
It is still legal to sell and use other types of fireworks apart from the two types that were banned. The court was originally scheduled to vote on the matter in its Dec. 11 meeting, but Biscoe proposed reconsidering the item at in a special voting session Dec. 14 to allow commissioners more time to prepare for the vote.