Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe led commissioners today to declare a state of local emergency and ban the sale of fireworks for 60 hours. Biscoe is requesting that Governor Perry extend the fireworks ban through June and over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The initial declaration presented by Judge Biscoe only granted him the authority to proclaim a "local disaster" for seven days. Biscoe asked Travis County Commissioners Court to extend the declaration indefinitely. They were approved the measure today after lunch, but included a provision that would allow Biscoe to lift the ban in the case of heavy rain.
Travis County has decided to take on these measures to avoid the risk of fire during the third most severe Texas drought on record.
"The main problem with fireworks is that they can get out of control," Judge Biscoe said.
The ban of fireworks will be enforced by voluntary complaints. According to Judge Biscoe, people already constantly report speeding to law enforcement officials. He expects the same for fireworks use.
Anyone caught using fireworks may receive a fine of up to $500 dollars.