Fires due to fireworks strain small volunteer fire departments

Careless fireworks usage can exact a tremendous financial toll


SAN ANTONIO – There is one thing on this day that frustrates firefighters more than anything else.

"People using fireworks carelessly," said Fire Chief Paul Tarter, of the Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department. "If you are going to use fireworks, use them responsibly. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of where you discard the ashes or where the fireworks are being done."

Fortunately for Bexar County firefighter, one of the biggest problem causers for them has been banned.

"Aerial fireworks. Fortunately, our county judge has banned our aerial fireworks this year, so that's a big help for us, " said Tarter.

In the past, wildfires caused by careless fireworks usage has put a major strain on the budgets for small volunteer fire departments.

For the Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department, some of the biggest costs are associated with preparation.

"Making sure that all of the trucks have equipment. Making sure the trucks are in working order. Making sure that we have trained personnel to be on those apparatus. That's the biggest component leading up to it," Tarter said.

For smaller departments in less affluent areas, Tarter says that a large wildfire caused by careless fireworks usage is in some cases enough to put a department on the brink of financial ruin.