Permissive ignition of fireworks within city limits began Monday, and the Bastrop Fire Department wants people of all ages to celebrate Independence Day safely this year.
“We want everybody to enjoy the holiday,” said Fire Chief Eric Montgomery. “But we do want to caution them – it’s hot and dry outside.”
City code allows fireworks to be ignited from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. June 25-July 5, on Veterans Day and from Dec.15-Jan. 1 for Christmas and New Years. The code prohibits either the selling or ignition of “bottle rockets,” or any type of rocket attached to a wooden shaft greater than 2 inches in length.
Fireworks may not be ignited within two blocks of the Morehouse Parish Courthouse Square, within 1,000 feet of any church, hospital, nursing home or school, or within 75 feet of any location where fireworks are sold. Violation of the fireworks ordinance is a misdemeanor offense. Penalties include fines from $25 to $500, jail time from 10 days to six months, or both as determined by the city judge.
Although serious fireworks-related accidents have not been a problem in Bastrop in recent years, Montgomery said the dry weather means citizens should exercise special care this Fourth of July. He offers the following safety tips:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
• Never place any part of your directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water form a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.