More than 200 counties in Texas have a burn ban in effect. That burn ban includes Palo Pinto County, home to Possum Kingdom Lake, where hundreds of thousands of acres burned in a massive wildfire in April.
Despite the land still charred since the massive blaze, county leaders have decided to go ahead with a traditional fireworks show at the lake. The chamber of commerce and area fire departments agreed it would be safe. That's because they are shooting the fireworks over the water, and the winds are expected to be low this weekend. Despite the recovery from the massive fires, they are excited to continue with this 24 year tradition.
Thousands come to PK Lake every year to see the display. And this year, they may have even more visitors. PK Visitor Alicia Rodriguez says, "I'm from in Amarillo. Everything is banned so we can't have fireworks this year. And so just coming down here, and being able to see a show is pretty cool. That's what 4th of July, besides getting our independence, that's what it's about." And PK Resident Amanda Bivens says, "I think it's fantastic. I think everything is going to go just fine. The volunteer fire department is quite capable of taking care of anything. And every year has been great."
PK East Fire Chief Ronnie Ranft says he approved the display. He says they have been working the celebration for more than 10 years. Ranft says, "I feel comfortable with it. We've gone through it. What we've done in the past, make sure we set up safety perimeter around the area. And we'll have trucks, personnel on the scene."
He says about 30 PK Volunteer Fire Fighters will be at the Hell's Gate show this Saturday to make sure the area stays safe. And in case of any spark, they are prepared with wild land gear, tools, and fire trucks to put a stop to it. However, he does advice residents to abide by the burn ban and prohibition of fireworks use. Chief Ranft says, "With the conditions that we're having right now, every little thing that can create a spark will cause a fire. With the conditions we've been having, these fires are going to grow larger, faster."
He tells Newschannel 6 the area fireworks show is the only show in the area you'll see. The use and sale of fireworks is banned in Palo Pinto County as well as several Texoma counties. The fireworks show begins around 9:30pm Saturday night.