Ignorance Not Bliss for Ban Violators

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While no tickets were issued New Years Eve, Brazos County authorities say they are still very much on the lookout for fireworks users. In fact, the sheriff's office has handed out a number citations in the new year to people illegally shooting fireworks.

In a tightening of law based on a choking drought, Brazos County says they won't only issue a fireworks ban ticket based on their sight of the crime alone.

"If we have someone reporting the use of fireworks and we get to the scene and find someone in possession of fireworks at that location, then we should have sufficient means to issue that citation, and they can argue the rest of that in the courtroom," Sheriff Chris Kirk said.

County Judge Randy Sims has been persistent in getting the word out about the emergency fireworks ban and the on-going burn ban, but knows their persistence doesn't always pay off.

"Some people disregard the law whether its state law, federal law or county law," Sims said.

However, Kirk says those who have violated the law so far this year are pleading ignorance to an almost unignorable problem.

"Those that we've encountered have basically said they weren't aware, and that's very surprising to us," said Kirk. "But we're not taking that as an excuse."

"How can you miss the danger when you turn the TV on and you see the cross plains go up in smoke out there," asked Sims.

And with the Brazos Valley experiencing similar conditions those of the smoke-filled neighbors to the north, authorities will continue to place an added emphasis on what they deem necessary bans.

On Friday, County Commissioners will meet to discuss whether to extend the fireworks ban by another seven days. The burn ban for Brazos County has been in effect since September 6, and will expire at the end of March unless commissioners vote to lift it before then.