Updated 06/14/2011 06:49 PM
Fireworks restricted throughout Central Texas
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For the first time since New Year's Day of 2005, all fireworks are banned in Travis County.
The commissioner’s court voted Tuesday to ban the sale and use of all fireworks, including sparklers, after looking over data and listening to several opinions on the topic.
The county fire marshal, Hershel Lee, explained that Travis County has been under a burn ban since the end of last year and there is zero moisture.
"If the wind blows or changes direction, you have a great opportunity there for a fire to start and get out of control," he said.
Fireworks were responsible for a fire during New Year’s Eve celebrations last year. Embers from fireworks landed on and ignited the thatch-roof of Hula Hut, a restaurant along Lake Austin.
Sean McMahon runs a fireworks stand and feels singled out by the ban.
"We want to be safe too," he said. "We don't want any property burned up, but we also enjoy and the love freedom to be able to shoot and enjoy fireworks."
Penalty for sale or use of fireworks during the ban is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. If the use of fireworks during the ban causes damage, additional charges may be warranted.
Travis County is not the only county playing it safe this Independence Day. The list of counties restricting the sale and use of fireworks is below.
City of New Braunfels - all fireworks banned
Bastrop County - all fireworks banned
Caldwell County - all fireworks banned
Travis County - all fireworks banned
McLennan County - fireworks "with sticks and fins" are banned