New Year's fireworks disallowed by judge

New Year's Eve was a relatively quiet one in Comal County, missing the standard display of fireworks after 274th Judicial District Judge Gary Steel upheld the county's decision to ban all fireworks.

Commissioner Jan Kennady, acting as County Judge in place of the absent Danny Scheel, signed an order declaring Comal County a disaster area which effectively banned the sale and use of any explosive or combustible material because of the imminent threat of wildfires due to drought conditions.

Local fireworks vendors made a last-minute attempt to overturn the ban, but Steel upheld the county's decision.

Kennady said she sympathized with the operators of the fireworks stands and their right to profit from the New Year's celebration, but felt the ban was necessary in light of the drought and disaster of wildfires already covering Texas.

"I had to think about the safety of our citizens first," she said.

Violators of the burn ban were subject to a $500 fine. The Comal County Sheriff's Office handed out at least a dozen citations over the weekend.

The weekend was not a total loss for the operators of fireworks stands. The ban did not go into place until Dec. 30, while stands had been open for weeks prior.

The burn ban is still in effect and will likely remain so until the dry conditions of the drought have been rectified.

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