ELM MOTT, Texas (FOX 44) – The 4th of July is less than a week away which would typically mean busy firework stands. But, with many counties restricting the use of fireworks because of drought conditions, that business is gone.
The McLennan County judge banned the use and sale of fireworks yesterday.
Daniel FitzGerald says the timing of the ban in McLennan County is especially hard because the season already opened, so they have a fully stocked inventory.
“If you ban during the season, we’re left having to pay the distributors for the fireworks and no way to sell them,” FitzGerald said. “So this can be absolutely financially devastating.”
Not only that, but because they have been open for five days, people already have fireworks in their hands.
“Just as Hill County has stated, fireworks aren’t necessarily the problem,” FitzGerald said. “It’s people who shoot them irresponsibly.”
The ban also impacts the firework stand employees, not just the owner.
“They’re all wondering, well, what are we going to do?” FitzGerald said. “How are we going to get paid? This was my vacation money. This was how I was going to pay my child’s tuition.”
Colton Montgomery says leading up to this point, they have been nervous.
“We understand the situation and we respect the call that was made,” Montgomery said. “But it does hurt because we did just put up this building here. We’ve got a lot of money invested into our product and our building.”
There is a chance that Governor Greg Abbott could extend the ban past the original 60 hours.
“We’re not sure where to go from here,” Montgomery said. “We’re praying that we’re able to get it released and the governor does not sign off on it.”
FitzGerald says the most important thing is if there needs to be a ban, to issue it before the season opens.
“Because doing it after the season opens is just creating a really bad financial situation for everyone involved and is creating an environment where there are fireworks out there,” FitzGerald said.
Although personal fireworks are banned, there are still many public shows throughout different cities in Central Texas.