On Thursday, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced that he is allowing the sale and safe use of fireworks this 4th of July weekend, due to the recent rainfall.
“The Fourth of July has always been about family and friends getting together to pop fireworks in honor of one of our most patriotic holidays, and this year we will continue those traditions by allowing the sale of fireworks following the pandemic.” County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said.
The final decision to allow families to pop fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the County was made after the Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) dropped to 544 on Thursday. Officials say that the drought index number is “well below the number needed to ban the sale of fireworks.”
However, the ban on fireworks with sticks and fins, which was put in place by the El Paso County Commissioners Court on May 20, remains in place. All other types of fireworks will be allowed this weekend.
The El Paso County Judge’s Office has been meeting with law enforcement and emergency personnel to ensure an operations plan is in place, specifically for the Far East Side of El Paso County where thousands of residents traditionally flock to buy and use fireworks.
Those entities include the Office of Emergency Management, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Services District 1 & 2, City of El Paso Fire Department, City of El Paso’s Fire Marshal and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
“There will be a large law enforcement/safety personnel presence over the holiday, specifically in the area of east Montana Ave to ensure the safety of the residents that live in the area and patrons purchasing/setting off fireworks,” county officials shared. “The heavy law enforcement presence will also help address drinking and driving, altercations, and any other misconduct deemed harmful.”
To help ensure the safety of residents in unincorporated areas the El Paso County Commissioners Court has authorized certain streets to be closed/barricaded to help keep congestion from overwhelming residential areas.
Officials say that determining street closures was done in collaboration with Neighborhood Association leadership and the El Paso County Sheriff’s office.
These street closures include:
East Montana Community
- Flagger St and Tangerine Ave
- Krag St (North of Montana Intersection)
- Krag St and Marvin Lane
- Vista de Este Rd and Marvin Lane
Mission Ridge Community
- Stansbury Dr and Colonial Bluff Rd
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office has the authorization to close other roads as needed in order to keep area residents safe.
Officials added, “We urge the public to use caution when traveling along Montana Ave given the heavy congestion and use of fireworks. We ask that individuals please pick up after themselves given there has historically been a large amount a trash left behind for residents in the area.”
El Paso County in collaboration with the Adult Probation Department and Sheriff’s office will be cleaning the area of left over debris on the morning of July 5th.