Fourth of July to be smaller in Texas
Team USA softball players watch fireworks last year in Fort Worth, Texas, which is going ahead with its show this year.
June 30th, 2011
02:40 PM ET

Fourth of July to be smaller in Texas

The stars at night are still big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas, but you might have to search a bit to spot skyrockets among them this Fourth of July weekend.

Many cities and towns have canceled their Independence Day fireworks shows as the state endures a devastating drought. Authorities have prohibited open burning in 236 (or 93%) of the state's 254 counties.

"There's always risk involved, even though it may be minimal risk," said Alan B. Benson, fire chief in The Woodlands Township, located in the Piney Woods about 30 miles north of Houston. "But in this case, we really can't afford a mishap and take a chance on our forest. We're kind of a green community, so we really value that resource."

He decided Monday to cancel the suburb's show for the first time since 1975.

"The level of risk this year is simply not acceptable," Benson said. "We had about three days with approximately 30% chance of rain. Well, it didn't rain, and it's not going to. We believe it was a good decision."

Austin also canceled its display for the first time in 35 years. San Marcos decided to cancel its display Monday, leaving Kyle as the only central Texas city going ahead with fireworks, CNN affiliate KVUE reported.

Many communities have gone even further and banned private fireworks as part of their burn bans. In The Woodlands, violating the ban could mean a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail.

Fireworks seller Chester Davis told the American-Statesman newspaper in Austin that he stands to lose 30% of his business.

He said flashes and explosions are an essential part of celebrating our independence.

"It's what I believe America is all about," he told the Statesman. "It's apple pie, it's Chevrolet, and it's Fourth of July fireworks."

In the past seven days, the Texas Forest Service reports it has responded to 49 fires covering 19,216 acres.

Since fire season started on November 15, the Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 12,985 fires that have burned 3,268,011 acres, the agency reported.

Benson is holding out hope that significant rain will arrive in The Woodlands soon.

"We are contemplating having a blowout at the end of summer," he said. "Do it on Labor Day."

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Filed under: Fire • Holidays • Texas • Weather
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz

    Hope it rains in Texas ya'll.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzz

    oh, Troll Jazzzzzzz... *you* have a sister that lives in texas too?

    I wouldn't want to be any other place than Fairhaven NY... My childhood vacation spot. (Big Grin) happy feet... here I come.
    And watching the fireworks while on the beach, with my strawberry daiquiris in hand.

    Bye all wishing you a Happy 4th

    June 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzzz

    I didn't post the second one. That was a very cleaver troll.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    Yeah this sux, but we are very aware that 1 spark can level a whole neighborhood, as it did in in the Oak Hill area of Austin in May. All across the state people have lost homes, vehicles, livestock, & lives to the fires. I know TX. is just1 of many states going through this devastation right now, but this is where I live so it hits home. We normally have a beautiful fireworks display, by the Town Lake shores downtown, kicked off with a concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, but not this year. Most cities have either called off fireworks or they're on hold til further notice. I agree with the fireworks stand owner; what is celebration of independence without fireworks or outdoor grill/BBQ, for that matter. Yep, the burn ban is comprehensive! No outdoor burning whatsoever!Too bad we haven't figured a way to relieve the flooded states of their excess water, & put it to work in the burning states. It's the perfect solution, but no way to implement it!!

    June 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mad Hatter

    Wow so many Jazzzzzzzz. Oh well. Keeps ya guessing.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. L¹bÿåñ Îñt³l

    Wow, the impersonator trolls go hard over here compared to the one on Marquee.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pedro

    What about the Casey Anthony Trial? Did you hear? The defense rested their case. I think if she is found guilty they need to send here to Indai to be with the other nasty people.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzz

    @ Mad Hatter and all pls refer to the secnd post as It is the real Jazzy
    really gotta go now
    Bon voyage Kitties

    June 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. fernace

    Happy 4th of July to all my blog peeps, JIF,banasy, Ruffie,Mad,Peace, Jazzzzz, Mr.Ed, dave nelson, mia, Ellis-Panama, Cesar, TerrelT, RaginSemi,Phil, sunshine girl, as well as to all you trolls, you know I luv y'all! Take care if you're in 1 of the "dangerous" states, if you're not send a rocket out to those of us who are! Oh & if it's not too much trouble, do a "wetness" dance for the drought states & a "dryhump" dance for the wet states, while you're partying! Lol! Thanks!!

    June 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jester & jackal

    And I thought everything was bigger in Texas.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mad Hatter

    GW Bush has requested all Texans to come to his ranch for the biggest 4th of July fireworks bash.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |