Differing County Firework Guidelines Confuse Residents

Differing County Firework Guidelines Confuse Residents

Wichita county fireworks guidelines have been officially set and with the differing guidelines in nearby counties, some are confused.
Governor Rick Perry signed the special fireworks order requested by Wichita County judge Woody Gossom on Friday, so the restrictions put in place on Thursday are now extended through the entire month of July.

Meanwhile, with so many restrictions and rules on what you can or can't do, many people say they are confused, and some say they may just travel outside the county to pop fireworks.

But if Wichita County residents go to adjoining counties, what rules will they face?

If people travel into Archer County, they will find most of the same rules there.

If they go over to Clay County, there is no burn ban and there are no special fireworks restrictions.

In both Archer and Wichita County: 
  • Residents must have the landowner's permission.
  • You must have a person over the age of 18 to act as a spotter.
  • A minimum of 5 gallons of water also has to be on site.
  • Also in both Wichita and Archer County you must have fire suppression tools handy.
  • You cannot use fireworks in winds higher than 20 miles per hour.
  • You must have a trash bag, and no fireworks near brushy area may be used.
And one change made in the original restrictions.

In the original-- property owners were required to notify the sheriff's office and local volunteer fire department 12 hours before if people were going to be allowed to shoot fireworks on their property.

That has been changed so notification is required only if more than 25 people will be involved.

And remember, no matter where you go, it is always illegal to set off fireworks on public roads, ditches and right of ways, and it's also always illegal to possess or set off fireworks within Wichita Falls city limits.

The restrictions in Archer County are similar to Wichita County but slightly different. Fireworks cannot be discharged less than 50 feet away from any property line or right of way and in Wichita County it is only 25 feet away.

We spoke with local business owners who say the varying restrictions and guidelines have caused a lot of confusion among customers.

"It's confusing. We've had people question if they can go across a county line with it in their car," Cody Strickland with Alamo Fireworks says.  

Businesses are trying to keep people aware the best that they can. 

"We try to stay up to date on what the restrictions are so that we can pass the information on because we don't want to be responsible for anybody doing anything either, so when somebody asks us, we want to be very clear with things on what the restrictions are," Tara Swagerty with Swagerty fireworks stand says. 

Now in Clay County there are no restrictions at all. County officials are simply encouraging people to use fireworks at one of two safe locations on the Fourth of July.

The first location is Hapgood Park in Henrietta and the lot west of the Fireworks Distributors in Jolly.

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