Are Fireworks Legal in Hays County?
Fireworks have long been an honored American tradition with many around the country looking forward to ringing in their 4th of July and New Year’s celebrations with a fireworks show. While setting off fireworks with friends and family during the holidays is a lovely custom, it is crucial to remain aware of firework laws to keep you from losing your independence on Independence Day and cutting your celebration short. For those wondering if fireworks are legal in Hays County, here’s all you need to know about the local and state laws regarding fireworks, and some safety tips to keep in mind when you’re using them.
Texas Firework Laws:
Before diving into whether fireworks are legal in Hays County, it is important to first understand Texas’ fireworks laws as the Lone Star state has some very specific laws regarding the purchase of fireworks and where you are allowed to set them off.
In Texas, fireworks can only be purchased during a short period leading up to New Year’s Day and the 4th of July. fireworks can be purchased from June 24th through July 4th for the 4th of July and December 20th through January 1st for New Year’s Day. Texas also gives each county commissioner the discretion to permit the sale of fireworks during the period leading up to Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day, and Memorial Day, (and Cinco De Mayo if the retailer is located within 100 miles of the Mexican Border).
Texas also has laws for where you can use fireworks, and igniting fireworks is prohibited within:
- 600 feet of any: church, hospital, asylum, licensed child care facility, veterinary hospital, and any public or private primary or secondary school or institution of higher learning without prior written authorization by the organization.
- 100 feet of any: location where fireworks are sold or stored, or where flammable liquids or gasses are sold or stored.
Setting off fireworks in violation of state law can result in a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine.
Are Fireworks Legal In Hays County? Hays County Local Firework Laws:
While Hays County enforces Texas Law in regulating where fireworks can be set off and only selling fireworks during designated times of the year, fireworks can be used any day of the year as long as they are permitted in one’s locality. Some municipalities within Hays County only allow the use of certain fireworks, and many local cities have banned the use of fireworks within their city limits.
In San Marcos, Hays County’s largest city, the sale, possession, storage, discharge, or offer of sale of fireworks is prohibited and constitutes a public nuisance charge resulting in a fine of $50 to $200. So, while fireworks are technically legal in Hays County, you should still ensure that they are legal in your town or city.
Those looking to celebrate with fireworks should also stay on top of potential burn bans which may be suddenly enacted due to weather conditions and result in use restrictions for some or all types of fireworks. During the 2022 4th of July season, Hays County had to institute a burn ban prohibiting the sale of skyrocket and missile-type fireworks due to ongoing drought conditions.
Firework Safety Tips:
For those located in areas of Hays County where fireworks are permitted, here are some basic safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe while you celebrate:
- Be cautious about where you decide to set off fireworks, and avoid using fireworks near flammable materials and dry grasses or shrubs.
- Aim fireworks toward the sky and avoid shooting fireworks where they could land on a house, car, or person.
- Operate fireworks with care and always follow the included instructions. Ideally, a responsible adult should set off fireworks, and an adult should always be present if a child is using fireworks. Avoid using fireworks when under the influence.
- Have a bucket of water or a water source near you in case of an emergency.
- Make sure to clean up any firework debris and soak it in a bucket of water for several hours before proper disposal in a trash can. Never place debris directly in a trash can without soaking it and store trash cans with debris in them away from any homes or garages to avoid a potential fire.
Now that you know the state and local fireworks laws and how to safely use fireworks you can remain at ease while watching a fireworks display during your favorite holidays. With fireworks being legal in Hays County year-round, you can always use them to celebrate if locally permitted.