Officials Urge Caution with Consumer Fireworks

From Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams

This year’s Fireworks season is shaping up to be a hot one in more ways than one. Sporadic rainfall over the past
couple of months brought welcome relief during our ongoing multi-year drought. There are no special restrictions on
fireworks this year, and they are legal in most of the County, with the exception of most municipalities and The
While conditions have been milder this spring, recent high temperatures and lack of rain mark what could be the
beginning of our Summer fire season here in Southeast Texas. Our Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) average
reading has shot up to 538 over the past several days and threatens to be at or above 600 by July 4th, while some areas
could be near 700 by the 4th. The Keetch Byram Drought Index measures drought conditions on a scale of 1 to 800,
with 600-800 considered to be higher fire danger. Historically, Montgomery County has seen an increase in the
number of summer wildfires when the KBDI average reaches 600, with those fires becoming larger and more
dangerous as we approach 700 on the scale. The largest and most destructive wildfire to ever strike Montgomery
County began on September 5th, 2011 when the KBDI reading was 695.
Although our area is in much better shape than we were at this time during 2011’s historic drought, the potential
for wildfires will be increasing unless our area receives significant rainfall soon. Ironically, our early spring rainfall
contributed to new growth in lighter wildfire fuels such as grass and brush. As our drought conditions deteriorate,
these fuels can be easily ignited by any small flame or spark.
At this time, there is no burn ban in place, but the MCFMO asks that citizens refrain from any outdoor
burning until our area sees significant rainfall. Although all fireworks are legal for purchase, we also ask that
everyone exercise caution should you choose to use consumer fireworks.
The following is the NFPA recommendation on fireworks safety. Access the NFPA at or call the
MCFMO for more information.
Fireworks lead to thousands of injuries requiring emergency room treatment, according to NFPA. These
dazzling, but dangerous devices can burn up to 1200 F and can cause burns, lacerations, amputations and
blindness. Stay safe by always leaving fireworks to professionals.
Stay back at least 500 feet from professional fireworks displays.
Treat all fireworks, whether legal or illegal for consumers, as suitable only for use by trained
If you find fireworks, do not touch them but instead direct authorities to them.
Leave any area where amateurs are using fireworks.

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