With a little help from mother nature and the Texas Legislature, fireworks retailers might see a sales boom in the Austin area this Fourth of July.
Last month, Gov. Perry signed HB 1813, which allows Texans to transport and possess fireworks in cities, eliminating previous fines that ranged from $50 to $2,000.
While this may seem like a watershed moment for fireworks fanatics, it isn't necessarily an explosive change for Texas firebugs — citizens are still not allowed to discharge fireworks within most city limits, including Austin.
James Coffee of American Fireworks, a chain of over 200 retailers in Texas, says that the season so far has been remarkable for fireworks retailers in Central Texas. He says customers can buy fireworks and transport them without anxiety of getting a ticket, and the lifted burn ban has led to more purchases.
"[The law] allows folks to transport without fear of confiscation when they're traveling through cities," he said. "And sales are strong, and it's just been a really good year. All the stars have kind of aligned for us."
While customers in the Austin area may get the chance to shoot off fireworks for the first time in a few years, he urges caution.
In Travis County, this is the first year since 2008 without a burn ban on the Fourth of July. The Travis County Commissioners Court instated a burn ban earlier today, but have allowed concessions for both barbecues and fireworks in the county.
The county, however, urged caution after a controlled burn went out of control yesterday and spread across at least 8 acres. And, while fireworks aren't banned, the county urges leaving fireworks up to professionals.
Statewide, 107 of the 254 counties in Texas have issued burn bans — a considerable drop compared to this time last year when 189 counties had burn bans.
Looking to watch some of the fireworks this Fourth? Here's a list of some of the official celebrations in the Central Texas area. As for those looking to have their own celebration, Travis County emphasizes those celebrating to use caution with a list of fire safety tips.