The use of fireworks in Somervell County was banned for 60 hours by Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers late Wednesday morning after he issued a local disaster declaration because of the current drought conditions and wildfire risk.

The fireworks ban was officially posted at 11:16 a.m. Wednesday, and continues for 60 hours from that time, shortly before midnight Friday, July 6, Chambers noted.

When asked if the ban will be extended beyond that time, Chambers said, “At this point, it’s hard to say.”

Chambers explained Thursday that the safety risk made the situation unavoidable. Hot temperatures, gusty winds, dry grass and the drought index number (Keetch-Byram Drought Index) have all combined to make the current wildfire risk extreme.

“We tried every way not to do that, but things weren’t in our favor,” he said.

The following message was posted online by both the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office and the Somervell County Fire Department:

“County-wide ban on the use of fireworks in immediate effect - By Order of Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers.

“Due to the extreme drought conditions and the sudden rise of the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI avg 591), Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers has joined the long list of surrounding county judges by issuing a "Disaster Declaration" under Texas Government Code 418.108, banning the use of all fireworks in Somervell County for 60 hours (until Saturday). To be renewed after that, it will take the concurrence of Governor Abbott.

“Call the sheriff's office at 254-897-2242 to report illegal fireworks use. Violators face a $500 fine or face jail under certain conditions.

“This DOES NOT prevent the fireworks dealers from selling fireworks . . . it only bans the USE of fireworks county wide. The USE of fireworks in the City of Glen Rose is always prohibited.”

The ban did not effect the fireworks show at the Wheeler Branch Reservoir that is put on each year for the public by the Somervell County Water District.