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County stresses fire safety this holiday weekend

Friday, July 1, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

Austin got some much-needed rain this week, but conditions remain worryingly dry leading into a holiday weekend that centers around setting things on fire. Travis County Judge Andy Brown, Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway and the fire chiefs of Travis County’s Emergency Services Districts are warning residents that the risk of wildfire is high. Though they are bringing in extra staff to deal with fires that may result from firework celebrations, they are also urging caution. “Our Emergency Services Districts are doing everything they can to prepare for the holiday weekend, but they need the community’s help,” Brown said in a statement to the press. “I urge everyone to be mindful when celebrating with fireworks this holiday. All it takes is one small spark to start a wildfire that can quickly get out of control.” Callaway acknowledged the voluntary limitation of firework sales by local retailers, but urged everyone else to do their part as well. “If you are going to use fireworks, it is imperative that you follow the safety tips from my office. Folks need to remember that they can and will be held responsible for damages resulting from the use of fireworks,” he said. The Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office also offered a list of recommendations:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Sparklers burn as hot as a welding torch and are NOT for little kids to use. Give children glow sticks to play with and leave the sparklers to the adults.
  • Never lean over the fireworks when lighting them.
  • Don’t pick up fireworks that have not completely gone off; they may still explode.
  • Throwing fireworks at each other is a bad idea. Don’t do it.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • After fireworks complete burning, spray them with water or put them in a bucket of water. Do NOT put them in the trash.

Editor’s Note: Andy Brown is on the board of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, the parent nonprofit of the Austin Monitor.

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