Local Firefighters Are Concerned About New Years

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Fire officials say the area's dry conditions couldn't have come at a worse time.

Local departments are bracing for the worst, fireworks mixed with a burn ban, a problem Bryan Fire Marshall Nathan Siviles wishes didn't exist.

"I would like to see that more heavily pursued by elected officials," Siviles said. "They are trying to do a good job, but I think more can be done in terms of education and having professional fireworks displays."

The cities of Bryan and College Station have banned all fireworks. Using them or even bringing them into the city could earn a person up to a 2-thousand dollar fine. But Brazos County commissioners have only banned stick rockets and fin rockets.

That's what has Siviles concerned. He says a sparkler could cause just as much damage, and wishes all fireworks were banned for personal use.

"We don't want to spoil there fun celebrations," Siviles says. "However in this day and time it's extremely dangerous. If we're not careful we can really hurt ourselves or our neighbors, so we have to be careful."

This week News Three ran an unscientific speak out poll asking folks whether or not the sale of fireworks should be prohibited during a burn ban. 85-percent said yes and only 15 percent said no.

When we hit the streets, area residents confirmed our poll.

"I know kids get a lot of pleasure out of them," Bryan resident Les Palmer said. "I did fireworks, but the risk is too high now. You can't rebuild something that burns down because of some fireworks."

"I watched two large fires in Robertson County," Bryan resident Jerry Gribble said. "I don't know what started them, but if you've been in a grass fire and see how fast it goes, and what it can do it's pretty bad. Any type of firework is dangerous."

When News Three talked with County Judge Randy Sims he said state statute prohibits the county to ban all fireworks. They are only allowed to ban the two they did. However, Judge Sims says he plans on looking into getting more latitude when it comes to rules regarding fireworks. He says using fireworks with present conditions is like playing Russian roulette.

In the meantime, fire departments could be busy if folks don't obey the laws.