— By CHRISTIN COYNE
Vegetation may still be green but authorities say a ban on the use of fireworks inside Weatherford city limits will be enforced over the Independence Day weekend.
As the summer fireworks season opens, Weatherford fire officials are urging residents to follow the law and stay safe over the holidays.
“Every year we have a big problem with fireworks at Lake Weatherford,” Weatherford Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins said, adding that they will be enforcing the city ordinance on the lake, around the lake and throughout the city.
Under city ordinance, fireworks cannot be bought, sold, manufactured, possessed or used inside Weatherford city limits.
Those in violation could be written a citation and have their fireworks confiscated.
Four peace officers with the fire department will be assigned to assist the police department during what is expected to be a busy four-day weekend, according to Hopkins. They will also be using the fire-police boat on the lake, he said.
Last year, officials handled dozens of fireworks violations.
Fireworks present several safety concerns for residents, according to Hopkins.
Fires are the leading cause of property loss in the U.S., causing $11 billion in damages across the country, Hopkins said.
Each year 15,000 fires are caused by fireworks in the U.S. including 1,100 structure fires, he added.
Though the city isn’t currently facing the severe drought conditions that it has during many previous summers, with rising temperatures, green fields can quickly lose their moisture and present a fire danger.
Under certain conditions, at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Lake Weatherford can lose an inch of water a day to due to evaporation, Hopkins said.
In addition to the fire danger, firefighters also see many injuries due to fireworks, according to Hopkins.
Burn injuries and blindings are the most common injuries resulting from fireworks.
Hopkins urged people to keep children away from anything that explodes.
“We wish and hope everybody has a very safe Fourth of July,” Hopkins said.
For those looking for a night of fireworks in Parker County, the City of Hudson Oaks is hosting the second annual Boomin’ 4th event.
The free event is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. at Gene L. Voyles Park on Lakeshore Drive and will include a fireworks show around 9:15 p.m.