Firefighters prepared for dry weekend of July 4

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Fire departments across Central Texas have additional staff available during the drier-than-normal holiday weekend.

“The 4th of July is always busy for us when it comes to grass fires, brush fires and even structure fires,” said Battalion Chief Josh Portie of the Austin Fire Department’s wildfire division ( AFD).

He says recent rain has reduced the fire risk from “very high” to “moderate,” but some areas are still drier and more flammable than others.

“If you drive through Austin/Travis County, you can see a lot of places where we have a little bit of green coming from the rain and there are some places that are still very dry,” Portie said.

According to the Texas Pyrotechnics Association, fireworks sales are picking up this weekend thanks to recent rains, a voluntary ban on rockets and stick missiles, and safety education efforts by businesses.

Chester Davis, the owner of American Fireworks, says his sales are on par with typical years. When it comes to safety, he urges anyone using fireworks to check warning labels, not make fireworks from scratch at home, and keep a bucket of water nearby.

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