Fireworks stands keep busy leading up to July 4th

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist CHRIS SHADROCK

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on June 29, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 11:59 AM

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas -- Even with the hot, dry conditions,  burn bans remain at bay across much of Central Texas. Giving the green light to fireworks vendors for the Fourth of July.

Stand operators off of 620 in Western Travis County say this is the busiest they've been in three years. They've been open one week and the operators say just today, they've restocked three times.

The Burkott family has big plans this 4th of July.

"Were going down to Canyon Lake, visit some friends," said Doug Burkott with his wife and 2 children.

This Saturday they're stocking up on fireworks.

"We've got some roman candles, chicken laying eggs, snap caps," Burkott said, going through their purchases.

"Business has been great," said American Fireworks Stand Operator Robert Morgan.

Morgan says this is the busiest they've been in 3 years.

"I've restocked 3 times today," he said. "This was my 3rd trip today and most likely we'll do another one."

While he encourages buyers to have fun on the 4th, he also reminds them to use common sense.

"Even though we're not in a drought it is dry," Morgan said. "We recommend you use fireworks in an open area, no dry areas, no grassy areas."

Fireworks are illegal in the city limits. But still Austin Fire Department Lieutenant Jim Baker says there are plenty of people who break the rules which can lead to fires and injuries.

"We stay busy," he said. "Anytime you start picking up a firework and lighting it, the chance of it exploding in your hand is very high. So you start getting a lot of finger injuries or eye injuries because of the debris."

Lieutenant Baker says anyone caught with fireworks in the city could face a fine. If a fire breaks out there could be criminal charges including arson.

"Once the firework leaves it's stationary position there's no telling where it goes," Lt. Baker said. "It can veer off the expected path. It can land in high brush, grass that's dried up in summer heat, or it could go on a roof and cause a house fire."

We saw the damage fireworks can do a couple years ago when a New Year's fireworks show sparked a fire at Hula Hut. That was a professional fireworks show at Abel's on the Lake next door to Hula Hut. The fire caused $50,000 in damage.

The Travis County fire marshal's office suggests launching fireworks from a smooth, flat surface away from homes and buildings. Always read and follow directions, warnings and instructions. And make sure you dispose of your fireworks properly.

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