Local residents encouraged to practice fire safety

Local residents are encouraged to practice fire safety and abide by policies that have been set in place to do just that.Last week, Hutchinson County Judge Faye Blanks issued a Declaration of Disaster that prohibits the sale or use of fireworks. This disaster declaration was signed and approved by Texas Governor Perry Friday, and will be in effect until 7 a.m. July 5, 2011. As far as firecrackers go, there are still some allowed such as the smaller confide poppers and the colored sparkler cones that you can find in local department stores. Theses types of fire works are not considered a class C firework, which are illegal this time around. Those caught violating the declaration face the possibility of a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail. Hutchinson County will be upping patrols to push the fireworks ban.Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument have also officially posted a ban on smoking and campfires in the parks.If you are looking to spend that weekend at Lake Meredith, campers will need to follow the following restrictions;•Setting, building, maintaining, attending, or using fires of any kind, including wood and charcoal campfires within developed campgrounds or picnic areas, or permanently improved places of habitation.Stoves fueled by petroleum or Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) fuels are allowed.•Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material down to mineral soil.•Possessing or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices, is prohibited at all times on all federal public lands.If any of these restrictions are violated, there will be a fine no more than $5,000, imprisonment, or both.Since the beginning of the year, the Hutchinson County has seen less than ¾ inch of rainfall, and local fire departments have put out over 130 fires as of this point in 2011. Hutchinson County Fire Marshall Danny Richards and other officials are encouraging the public to practice fire safety this year. Anything small can create a complete and utter disaster.