TEA, S.D. (KELO) — Various areas of the upper Midwest are experiencing exceptional drought, and this comes as we approach a time when many people set off fireworks. So, how can these two trends safely coexist?
The City of Tea has taken up the issue. Mayor John Lawler says that normally the only days of the year where fireworks can be set off in the city are on July 3, 4 and 5. However, at a city council meeting last week there was a fireworks ban put in place on those dates because of how dry it is. But on Monday, a special city council meeting made some changes, when literal (and not figurative) fireworks were on the agenda. One of the people who spoke during public input was Mike Denning, owner of The Fireworkz Store, which has various locations in the region.
“I agree with what you did, you had to make a decision,” Denning said.
On Monday the council decided to drop the ban for July 3 and 4.
“In the end, we allowed people to still shoot fireworks off,” mayor John Lawler said. “We allowed the to, people to have their fun, but just to limit it some.”
“That’s great,” Denning said. “Most people aren’t buying fireworks on the fifth anyway. The two busiest days are the third and the Fourth.”
One of the people in attendance was Stacie Moulton of Tea. Come the third and Fourth, she’s planning to shoot fireworks.
“I think if people are smart and they stay in Tea where water is available, I think it will be okay,” Moulton said. “It’s going outside of Tea limits that there’s no water and it’s dry out there, there’s going to be fires.”
Jeff Stahlecker, chief of Tea’s volunteer fire department, was also on hand, offering tips which can benefit any community.
“If you can, have a bucket of water, have a hose ready, just in case, and be safe, that’s all I’m asking,” Stahlecker said.
Lincoln County has a burn ban right now. Emergency manager Harold Timmerman said via text message that this does not include a ban on fireworks, adding that this ban covers rural sections of the county.