By Ashley Rader
With the onset of a heat wave and prolonged dry weather, the Elizabethton Fire Department is encouraging residents to discharge their fireworks safely this Independence Day and are providing two community locations for families to gather and shoot their fireworks.
Elizabethton Fire Marshal Jack Buckles explained that fireworks were not being banned because of the hot and dry conditions but he did remind citizens that they are responsible for the fireworks that they shoot. In an attempt to improve the safe use of fireworks during the dry weather, the EFD will be providing two locations where residents can bring their fireworks to shoot them off. The EFD will provide a fire truck and two firefighters for standby at each location. City ordinance states fireworks can be discharged from noon to 11 p.m. from June 20 to July 5 for those that want to discharge their fireworks from their own home.
The first community location is at Cat Island Park and the second location is at Kiwanis Park behind Fire Station No. 2 on West G. St. The locations will be available on July 3 and 4 from 8 to 11 p.m. each night.
“We are not telling people they cannot shoot fireworks,” Buckles said. “They can still shoot them at home if they want to but this is a safer option and it is a chance to see a lot of fireworks in one location.”
Buckles added it was a proactive approach to help the citizens enjoy the holiday safely and to allow families the chance to come together and celebrate the beginning of the United States together.
Also, due to the excessive heat, the lack of rain and the extended forecast showing no change in conditions, Buckles has issued a ban on all outside burning in the city limits. The ban will be removed once adequate rainfall has been received.