TEXARKANA -- Police and firefighters on both sides of Texarkana want to remind residents that fireworks are illegal inside the city limits.
Fireworks are prohibited in the city limits of both Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas. In an effort to prevent injuries or fires caused by fireworks, police will be enforcing ordinances and issuing citations to violators this Independence Day weekend.
The fee for a fireworks violation is $186 on the Texas side and $100 on the Arkansas side, according to police.
Fireworks are also illegal in the city limits of Wake Village, according to the police department.
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In 2021, the Texarkana Arkansas Board of Directors also voted to amend the city fireworks ordinance for events or special occasions after frequent complaints from citizens. The rules include acquiring a permit and meeting local and state laws and National Fire Association guidelines.
Firework displays must now be overseen by a licensed professional, occur between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. and last no longer than 30 minutes.
Ward 1 Director Terry Roberts sponsored the measure because of constituent complaints he received regarding a fireworks display during a wedding reception at Texarkana Country Club. The noise of the display prompted 911 calls, caused pets to run away from their homes and triggered an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder for one local veteran, Roberts said.
The main point of the ordinance changes was to provide public notice that fireworks displays will be happening. People granted a display permit are required to publish notice of the display for two consecutive weeks.
Another concern regarding fireworks this year is how dry the weather has been.
Neither Miller nor Bowie county is currently under a burn ban, but grass fires could easily occur because of the conditions.
Texas A&M Forest Service asks everyone to be careful with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark.
Approximately 90 percent of wildfires are caused by humans and their activities, and Independence Day is one of the top days for reported wildfires.
"Take caution with your celebrations while you grill and enjoy fireworks with your family and friends. Remember to do your part, and don't let a wildfire start," said Karen Stafford, prevention program coordinator for the Forest Service.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public show conducted by professionals. If you are going to set off your own fireworks, these safety tips are recommended:
• Before you celebrate, always check with local government officials for any burn bans or other restrictions. Be sure to comply with all restrictions.
• Read and follow all warnings and instruction labels on fireworks.
• Use fireworks only under close adult supervision and in safe areas away from structures, dry grass and brush.
• Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
• Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
• Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.