City, state ban fireworks for July 4 displays

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
For most people the Fourth of July is about freedom, festivities and fireworks, but thanks to near-record drought conditions, one of those traditions had been cancelled.
Alabama State Fire Marshall Ed Paulk has joined in the emergency drought declaration issued by State Forester Linda Casey, which includes a temporary ban on the discharge of fireworks in 33 Alabama counties, including Franklin.
"The situation in our state is extremely dangerous for burning and for the use of fireworks," Paulk said. "We are joining the state forester in her efforts to prevent a tragedy in our state."
It is still legal to buy and sell fireworks in Franklin County however, the use of them under this order could result in fines and possible prosecution.
The Russellville Police Department will be enforcing the ban.
"It's a violation of city ordinance to shoot fireworks in the city limits anyway," Chief Chris Hargett said.
"So violations will be met with a citation from the city and possible prosecution from the state level."
Russellville Fire Marshal Bobby Malone discouraged local residents from assuming any thundershowers in the near future would lift the ban, as the state is nearly four feet below average for rainfall.
"A little rain here and there's not going to make any difference as far as the drought is concerned," he said.
"Any little bit will help, but the state is so far behind on rainfall, and everything is so dry, (the rain) is absorbed as soon as it hits the ground."
The city is also enforcing a strict no-burn ordinance, in which residents are not allowed to do any outside burning. In ramping up safety efforts, the police department has stepped up patrols for motorists who throw cigarettes from their car windows, also. Retailers who choose not to sell fireworks in the wake of this ban can have the cost of their permits refunded.

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