Fireworks on the fourth may not happen this year - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Fireworks on the fourth may not happen this year

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City leaders and 4th on Broadway organizers are discussing the current drought situation specifically when it comes to the fireworks extravaganza.

"It's the worst drought on record, and all it takes is one ember to start a fire," Lubbock Mayor Tom Martin said Friday.

Last year the 4th on Broadway fireworks show in Mackenzie Park was canceled due to rain, and this year it could be the exact opposite. Martin said even if it rained for three weeks straight, the ground wouldn't be saturated enough. While the show hasn't officially been called off, Martin says it's likely.

That decision will be made Monday when Lubbock County Commissioners meet to consider issuing a ban on restricted fireworks.

The ban would including restricting"skyrockets with sticks" and "missiles with fins." According to the agenda, commissioners will also consider providing additional restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks. County Judge Tom Head would have to declare a local disaster. Commissioner Bill McCay says it would only be in effect for 60 hours.

Jan Johnson at TNT fireworks knows rain forecasts have been grim, but says a total ban on fireworks would cripple business.

"We don't ban the sale of cigarettes, which is a major cause of fires. We feel like the firework industry is singled out as the sole cause of fires and that's not the case." Johnson also said fireworks haven't been to blame for any wildfires this year. 

Commissioner Mark Heinrich says they are working with the fireworks industry, but safety comes first. "It's a tough decision. We understand the fireworks industry can only sell a few weeks out of the year...but we have to look at public safety," he said.

Even though state law allows firework sales to start June 24th, Johnson says an option would be to push the window back to allow more time for rain, and hopefully salvage business.

"Maybe we only open up from July 1st to the 4th," she suggested. "That cuts 7 days off the selling season, fireworks would not be out there and there's no risk involved."

If a ban is put in place, Broadway Festivals, Inc. says public safety is always the first concern. If the firework show is canceled, organizers will cancel the concert. The street dance, parade and street fair will go on as scheduled. The street fair hours could be extended if the fireworks are canceled.

The Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office says Lubbock County Club has already submitted its request for a permit. They have not received one from 4th on Broadway organizers. For years, it has been illegal to shoot fireworks inside Lubbock city limits unless a permit has been issued.

Firefighters urge citizens to be careful with anything that could start a fire, especially fireworks.  

Some fireworks have already been banned in other Texas cities including Amarillo, Canyon and Houston.

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