Fourth of July private fireworks banned in township

The private use of fireworks is prohibited in The Woodlands as part of an official set of covenants that regulate residential and commercial properties in the community.

Montgomery County issued a "Declaration of Local Disaster" July 2 as a result of an increased possibility of wildfires due to drought conditions in the area. Firefighters have responded to more than 30 wildfire calls in the past few days, including eight in which the 911 caller reported fireworks were involved, according to information from the county fire marshal's office.

The only place families can view fireworks in a permitted environment in The Woodlands is at the 16th annual Red, Hot & Blue Festival on the Fourth of July.

"I think there has been a little bit of confusion with why The Woodlands is doing a fireworks show, but bans it in its covenants," said Nick Wolda, president of The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's something that has happened in The Woodlands for about 37 years and that's produced in a controlled environment by professionals. The Woodlands Fire Department assists in that."

The free festival will take place from 6–10 p.m. at Town Green Park and Waterway Square and offer live music, face painting, performers, hot dog and watermelon eating contests, vendors, concessions and fireworks.

Professional fireworks test shots will be conducted every 10 minutes beginning at 8:40 p.m until 9:10 p.m. to allow families to locate an optimal viewing area. A 20-minute fireworks show will launch shortly after 9 p.m. from Timberloch Place near I-45 and the Waterway Plaza Parking Garage near Waterway Square.

Although consumer fireworks are banned in The Woodlands, most are still legal in county areas outside of the township and other nearby governing bodies. However, certain types of aerial fireworks such as sky rockets with sticks and devices with fins and rudders are not permitted. In addition, an outdoor burn ban is also in place county-wide with violators facing possible fines up to $500.

"We just want to remind residents it's not safe, and bad accidents can happen when homeowners [set off fireworks]," Wolda said.