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EP County Commissioners To Decide On July 4th Fireworks Ban

El Paso County commissioners will decide next week whether certain aerial fireworks will be allowed outside El Paso city limits this July Fourth.

But Mother Nature really makes the call.

In accordance with state law, the decision is based entirely on the county’s drought index, an assessment of how dry the air is, and how easily a fire could start – provided by the National Forest Service.

“The law is very strict in this regard,” said El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal. “The authority of Commissioners Court to limit the use of fireworks is tied solely to the drought index.”

That index has to be lower than 575 for those aerial fireworks to be permitted. Friday, El Paso County’s drought index was 510. Bernal said it is unlikely that number will top 575 before Monday.

Fireworks vendors in Montana Vista said they’re used to this process.

“It’s something we deal with every year. I’m used to it. I think the vendors are used to it,” said Fernando Viramontes, area manager for TNT Fireworks.

He said the kind of fireworks in question make up for less than 15 percent of his business.

“That is not one of our major sales items,” he said.

In a separate agenda item Monday, the El Paso Fire Department and Fire Marshal’s office will recommend commissioners ban all aerial fireworks in the county for safety reasons.

All fireworks are banned within El Paso city limits.

ABC-7 will be at the meeting Monday. Look for updates on-air and online at

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