Some Denton County residents may see a few fairly new shopping opportunities along their routes if they’re planning on doing any driving this weekend.
Fireworks stands have been popping up around the county as the approaching Independence Day holiday stimulates demand.
On average, officials told us, between 40 and 50 permits are issued for stands located at an estimated 17 to 23 areas throughout unincorporated parts of Denton County.
It’s usually easy to spot these stands because they are decked out in colorful banners and most have large signs promising savings on their various products.
Consumers might find it difficult to resist such a bargain, especially one that promises an “explosion” of fun, but they may want to think twice before reaching for their wallets.
Marc Dodd, an investigator with the Denton County Fire Marshal’s Office, said it’s illegal to shoot fireworks in most locations within the county, so double-checking with the county or the city you live in before spending any money is the safest option.
And officials also point out that the old rule about “ignorance being no excuse” applies here — it’s the consumer’s responsibility to check out the rules before staging a fireworks display on the lawn.
Officials said residents can discharge fireworks in unincorporated parts of Denton County, or on the property of someone who lives in an unincorporated part of the county with the owner’s written permission.
County officials said it’s illegal to shoot off any firecrackers in a public roadway, park, lake or U.S. Corps of Engineers property or from a moving vehicle or boat. You also may not shoot off fireworks within 600 feet of a hospital or health care center, school or church, or within 100 feet of a gas station or fuel dispensing facility.
While fire officials want everyone to have fun, they want people to make sure they know where they can properly shoot off fireworks without getting a hefty fine.
Most fireworks-related fines, Dodd said, are Class C misdemeanors and may vary on charges that could also include littering, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.
Shooting fireworks from a boat or moving vehicle can cost violators up to $500 in fines.
Another factor to consider is the threat of fire. It might appear that recent rainfall has reduced the risk of wildfire, but officials urge residents to check the daily fire danger status on the county’s website, www.dentoncounty.com/burncontrol, or by calling 940-349-2840. Not only is it extremely dangerous and illegal to shoot off fireworks on a day a burn ban is in effect, it could land residents in jail.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing fireworks, so we encourage you to do your homework and give it some thought before you strike the first match. You might save yourself a lot of money and frustration.
We agree that fireworks and the Fourth do go together, but we recommend viewing one of the public displays planned in the area. These planned shows are a safe way for families to enjoy the sights and sounds of Independence Day. Plus, many are free or available at minimal cost.
It’s a good way to get more bang for your buck.