County leaders ban select fireworks

Overall firework ban will be debated June 3

Partial fireworks ban

EL PASO, Texas - In a move that has become almost ceremonial, the county banned aerial fireworks in the county on Monday.

County Judge Veronica Escobar requested her fellow commissioners vote with her to ban fireworks known as "sticks and fins." The move passed 4-to-1, Commissioner Haggerty representing the lone "no" vote.

Sticks and fins are regularly banned in El Paso County.  Even industry representative Fernando Viramontes declined to fight the ban during Monday's meeting.

"Let's consider this, and see if we can work this thing out," said Viramontes pointing ahead to a June 3 meeting.

Viramotes said he wasn't opposing the aerial ban, however, said he's still hoping to keep up the good fight for keeping other fireworks for this year's season.

Escobar continues to state that she doesn't see much of a chance of avoiding a request for a ban. In fact, during Monday's meeting she said she would be requesting the court to ban all fireworks at an upcoming meeting.

Right now, El Paso County is the only county in the state of Texas with a KDBI rating above 700. The maximum number for that drought index is 800.

"We have seen enough fires, and heard from fire marshals, the department and volunteer fire chiefs that even low level brush threatens structures and people," said Escobar.

Viramontes said that people involved in the fireworks business are willing to work with commissioners to avoid this years' ban. He said those measures could include safe zones or a reduced number of days where selling would be allowed.

"Whatever it takes, we want to stay in business," said Viramontes.

Escobar warned commissioners that the upcoming meeting would be long and animated with a lot of people fighting to keep fireworks. Viramontes said more than 100 people were waiting on commissioners to make a decision that would affect them.

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