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SPOTLIGHT
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Fireworks revisited

Published on -6/19/2013, 9:42 AM

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When making decisions related to hot, dry conditions, one must ignore the rain that's fallen during the past few days. It certainly hasn't been uniform in its amount, nor will it have much effect on the drought overall.

Still, it seems almost ironic that in the same Ellis County commissioners decided to change course and ban the sale and discharge of fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations -- rain came down in sheets atop the very building where the decision was made.

The moisture amounts, however, vary widely across the county. The downpour late Tuesday most people in Hays experienced resulted in close to 2 inches of much-needed rain. Yet merely 5 miles outside of the city limits, precipitation was being measured in just hundredths of inches.

In short, we are not close to breaking the strong grip the current drought has on the region.

And we must give credit to the county commissioners for recognizing what Hays, Ellis, Schoenchen and Victoria already knew: Conditions are not favorable for fireworks this year.

"It's just too risky with the dryness we have," said Victoria Mayor Curtis Unrein after that city's decision.

"The recent hot weather, and fires going on in the area, and looks like it will be hot again -- no light at the end of the tunnel," said Ellis Mayor Lyle Johnston in justifying their ban.

"Do we want a multitude of people out there, get in a stubble field, and it burns somebody's farm down?" asked Ellis County Emergency Management Director Bill Ring recently.

County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger was on the side of caution when casting the only vote against fireworks during a May meeting. This week, commissioners Dean Haselhorst and Swede Holmgren reversed their votes to make it unanimous.

"We have to think beyond the moment," Holmgren said. "Fourth of July is our country's independence, and it is a hoorah celebration. But we have to think of the consequences of what we're doing."

Consistency is good as well. While Mother Nature might decide rain won't fall evenly across Ellis County, the various governmental bodies certainly can have uniformity when deciding safety issues such as fireworks. With the county commission's decision, we can at least have that.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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