The Kleberg County Commissioners Court voted to issue a burn ban effective Feb. 18 because of a lack of rainfall, but they elected to adopt an order to allow the sale and purchase of fireworks next week.
Pct. 3 County Commissioner Roy Cantu said during Friday’s commissioner’s court meeting that the weather conditions in the county have been dry as of late, which is the reason the ban is needed.
“We’re dry and we didn’t get the rain that we needed,” Cantu said. “I was hoping that we didn’t have to do this but with the winds, it’s needed.”
The burn ban will run over the course of a mandatory 90 days, but can be brought back to commissioner’s court if weather conditions change.
On Monday, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which is used to monitor soil moisture, was at an average of 384 in Kleberg County.
The drought index ranges from 0 to 800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.
Despite the passing of the burn ban, the Kleberg County Commissioners voted to adopt an order to authorize retail firework permit holders to sell fireworks in the county in celebration of Texas Independence Day on Monday, March 2.
Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said after the meeting that the sale of the fireworks carries restrictions for the sale of “aerial fireworks.”
According to online documents from the Texas Association of Counties, “restricted fireworks” are defined as “skyrockets on sticks,” and as “missiles with fins.”
These fireworks are considered to be aerial fireworks, Cantu said during the meeting.
A violation of the order is a Class C misdemeanor.
Residents within the Kingsville city limits are still subject to city ordinance Sec. 9-5-1, banning the selling, shooting or discharging of fireworks within town.
As defined by the ordinance, fireworks include “any and all types of firecrackers, regardless of size, Roman candles, or similar devices known by other trade names, sky rockets, devil’s torpedoes, or any similar fireworks which are discharged by throwing against some object, and other fireworks which explode by use of a fuse or by concussion.”
Individuals found in violation of the city ordinance, a Class C misdemeanor, could potentially face a fine of more than $200 for each prohibited item, along with the seizure of any remaining fireworks.
The fireworks sale will begin on Feb. 25 and ends at midnight on March 2, or “expires on the date the Texas Fire Service determines drought conditions exist in the county,” according to the order documents obtained by the Kingsville Record.