Despite recent rainfall in the Cedar Park and surrounding areas, dried grass and vegetation still linger from the ongoing drought. Cedar Park city officials are reminding residents these conditions may help fuel fires, so all use of consumer fireworks is outlawed.
"Due in part to recent 100 degree-plus temperatures, dry conditions and fire danger persist in this region," said James Mallinger interim fire chief for the Cedar Park Fire Department.
While fireworks are especially popular around the July 4 festivities, they are always illegal in Cedar Park and will be enforced with a zero-tolerance policy by the Cedar Park Police Department. The fines for setting off or possessing fireworks range from $200-$2,000.
"The Cedar Park Fire Department wants everyone to enjoy a safe and festive Fourth of July," Mallinger said in a recent news release. "We are counting on our citizens and area residents to help keep our community safe and fire-free during these hot summer months, and leave fireworks to the professionals."
CPFD also responds to locations within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, in Travis and Williamson counties. Fireworks are also banned in these areas.
Areas of Williamson County not included in Cedar Park's ETJ do not prohibit the use of fireworks, although users are cautioned to be careful, avoid fires and maintain safety when using consumer fireworks.
While Travis County issued a burn ban June 26, which is set to expire July 25, fireworks are still allowed, but caution is urged.
"With the July 4 holiday approaching and consumers buying and using fireworks, the number of outdoor fires will increase. Under these hot, dry conditions, any spark can start a fire," Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee said in a news release.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks during the holiday is by attending professional public displays in the area, officials said.
In order to enjoy Independence Day in a safe manner, Cedar Park plans to host a professional fireworks show at the annual Fourth of July Celebration at Elizabeth Milburn Park, 1901 Sun Chase Blvd. The festival is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., and the fireworks will kick off at 9:15 p.m.