There will be no “missiles with fins” and “skyrockets with sticks” lighting up the night sky in Bell County on New Year’s Eve this year.
At least, county officials and local fire departments hope they won’t.
On Dec. 10, county commissioners declared a ban on those types of fireworks, more commonly known as “bottle rockets,” due to extremely dry conditions caused by a lack of rain and below-freezing temperatures.
Harker Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier said it doesn’t take much to set dead vegetation on fire and hopes residents will be very cautious when using other types of fireworks.
“All it will take is one of the fireworks landing on some dead grass (for a fire to start),” he said.
He also hopes smokers will think twice before throwing their lit cigarettes out of car windows.
Most fireworks stand operators in the county agreed to cooperate with the commissioners’ ban and not sell bottle rockets, Collier said. But that won’t keep people from buying them in other locations and bringing them into the county.
“In my 38 years in this business, you can have laws on the books to prohibit it, but it’s never going to stop the public from shooting off the fireworks,” Collier said.
Although she is unable to sell bottle rockets, Vina Perez, manager of Fireworks Superstore near Nolanville, doesn’t think the ban will have an impact on her store’s bottom line. Their best selling firework is the artillery shell, which shoots flaming balls into the air one at a time.
Perez and her son, Joseph, who helps work the store, said they have been steadily busy since the doors opened on Dec. 21 and expect their sales to keep growing.
“When New Year’s Eve comes along, we’ll get even busier,” she said.