“You can buy fireworks, but you just can’t shoot them right now,” is how White Hall Police Chief Richard Wingard describes the plight of youngsters and parents with fireworks, but no place too legally to legally set off fireworks.
Redfield Police Chief Steve McFatridge faces the same paradox, erecting notices that fireworks can be purchased, but not discharged.
Jefferson County like most Arkansas counties is under a burn ban with an extreme danger of wildfires because of dry conditions.
Fireworks displays by three Jefferson County municipalities are scheduled to go on as planned Wednesday, but the discharge of all fireworks outside of the three shows is prohibited.
The three shows at White Hall, Redfield and Pine Bluff are licensed and permitted by authorities.
Most burn bans issued by county judges prohibit the discharge of all fireworks on the advice of the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The commission has encouraged police personnel to take steps to enforce the ban on fireworks.
The weather forecast has been “more of the same” for more than a week. The National Weather Service forecast for the White Hall area Wednesday calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 98 and a southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Wednesday evening is expected to be partly cloudy, with a low about 73 and south, southwest wind about 5 mph.
Wednesday’s planned fireworks displays, with all three set to trigger the pyrotechnics about 9 p.m.:
– White Hall will hold the municipality’s annual free fireworks display at the high school’s Bulldog Stadium. Policemen and firemen will collect donated canned goods at the stadium for the White Hall Food Pantry. Merchants and individuals underwrite the cost of the show.
Wingard has encouraged residents to park on the home and visitors sides of the stadium, not on Holland Avenue, to reduce the danger of vehicle-pedestrian accidents. Individuals can bring non-alcoholic beverages and food to the stadium.
– The sponsoring Redfield Community Service Association will kick off activities with a parade at 4 p.m. and end at the ball park at F.P. Baugh Park.
Concessions will be available at the park. Live entertainment will be provided from 5 p.m. to dark.
– At Pine Bluff’s Regional Park amphitheater, three different bands will perform from 4-9 p.m. Proceeds from beverage sales will go to “Blues for a Cause,” an organization that helps cancer patients that either do not have enough insurance or no insurance.
The commission classified the fire danger as high in all of the state’s 75 counties.
Fireworks stands across the area have seen their business drop off sharply because of the burn bans. “We’ve got the fireworks, but we are missing the customers,” one stand operator said.
Another operator suggested that buyers may find some good sale prices at the stands and can shoot the fireworks later on Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day, lawful dates other than around the Fourth of July.