Shoot 'em if ya got 'em
Rebecca Walker, Franklin County Times
Recent rain showers hit Franklin County in the nick of time for local farmers, and it was a welcome sight for residents looking to ring in the Fourth of July, too.
The state has relaxed its ban on the shooting of fireworks, opting only to ban a small portion of them.
"The only fireworks which may not be discharged … are skyrockets with sticks and rockets or missiles with rudders or fins. There is no prohibition on the discharge of any other types of fireworks in those counties," a statement from the Alabama Forester's Office said.
Franklin County Fire Marshal Bobby Malone said, "Anytime anyone shoots fireworks of any kind, there is a possibility of danger. We want to remind everyone to keep safety in mind. There should always be adult supervision when shooting fireworks. Also, it's a good idea to keep a pail of water around, and to make sure you're shooting in a safe spot. Even firecrackers can be dangerous. We just want to encourage safety."
Fire Chief Joe Mansell added, "If anything does happen, the fire department should be called immediately, before it gets out of hand."
While the ban may make some July 4 celebrations more festive, Mansell said that the county is still under a strict no burn order.
The emergency declaration, which includes the burn ban, makes it illegal "for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, woods, wild lands or marshes, to build a campfire or bonfire … or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass or woods fire until said declaration is lifted."
State Forester Linda Casey said, "We want the public to be informed about the kinds of fireworks that may be discharged during the drought emergency. We encourage safety precautions due to the extremely dry conditions throughout the state."
Precautions include wetting the area where fireworks will be discharged, keeping a water source such as a hose nearby, and staying away from dry leaves or grass when shooting fireworks.
The Alabama Forestry Commission insists that before the ban is lifted, several inches of rain must be accrued.
The forty counties in the No Burn are under a D-4 drought level, which is the highest on the drought scale.