Fireworks stand

Fireworks seller Scott Park stocks the shelves of the American Fireworks stand on the FM 2484 in Killeen, close to the Cen-Tex Scrap and Metal Inc. Waste Management on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018.

BELTON — Bell County residents won’t have to wait until Independence Day to buy fireworks this year.

The Commissioners Court, in a unanimous decision on Monday, approved the sale of fireworks for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. Residents can start buying firecrackers beginning May 22 and ending May 27.

Bell County Fire Marshal Steve Casey said be brought this request to the commissioners because a resident wanting to sell fireworks had approached him and asked about it.

“This is a special request for Memorial Day,” Casey said.

Bell County Judge David Blackburn said Memorial Day is one of several holidays that commissioners courts have discretion to prohibit the sale of fireworks. The other holidays are Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day and Cinco de Mayo, according to the Texas Association of Counties.

“Under those, we have discretion,” Blackburn said. “The others — the Fourth of July, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day — we cannot prohibit unless there are drought conditions put forth.”

As summer approaches, the county will get drier, Casey said. But currently Bell County is not seeing any issues with dryness nor fires, he said.

Casey said the county is nowhere near indicating a 575 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index — which measures moisture depletion. That number is the point at which a county can call a burn ban.

On Monday, Bell County was measuring an average of 18 on the index, with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 34. The higher the number, the drier an area is.

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