The City of Wichita Falls is postponing the 4th In The Falls celebrations due to fire concerns. The event was planned to be held at the MPEC on July 4. It was to conclude with a professional fireworks display. 2 days ago, City Leaders insisted to Newschannel 6 the professional display was safe. Today, they changed their mind.
The threat of fire is too high. "We've been monitoring the situation for the last 3 or 4 weeks, hoping for some rain," said Wichita Falls Fire Chief Earl Foster. That rain hasn't come. "The moisture content just keeps going lower and lower," he said.
The decision was made in collaboration with Fire Officials, City Leaders and MPEC Director Bob Sullivan. "It is disappointing that we're not going to be able to do it. We have put a lot of plans together for it and we thought it was going to be a very good celebration; however, public safety is primary in all of our plans," said Sullivan.
This isn't the first time the event has been pushed to Labor Day. Floods forced the same decision several years ago. "We have had it on Labor Day Weekend, it was a very great celebration and I think we'll have the same thing this year," said Sullivan.
Foster says the best advice he has for folks celebrating America over the holiday is to follow the law – don't use fireworks. With the weather so dry, it would not take a firecracker to start an inferno. The Chief says to even take caution when grilling. "Have a water hose with a positive cutoff right there handy have a fire extinguisher handy just in case. You never know."