This time last year, fireworks couldn’t be used due to a countywide burn ban from a severe drought.

There’s no burn ban this year and residents may celebrate the July 4th holiday with their fireworks.

Jeff Gardener, warehouse manager with Texas Outlaw Fireworks, anticipates business will be good if wholesale fireworks are any indicator.

“Last year was pretty rough on us. My hands were working just 16 hours a week but we survived through it,” Gardener said.

Though sales are good in July, more merchandise is moved during Christmas and New Year’s. He believes most residents would rather go out in the cold than sweat in the heat with fireworks.

It’s also 14 days of selling versus 10 days in July.

Gardener said some of his best sellers are artillery shells, the Ring of Fire and Let Freedom Ring fireworks.

“The safety has changed over the years. They’ve (manufacturers) strengthened them. They used to be bad to the bone but now they’re regulated,” Gardener said.

Here are some common sense safety tips for fireworks from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

• Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

• Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

• Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

• Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

• Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

• Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

• Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!

• Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:

• Always remain standing while using sparklers.

• Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

• Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.

• Never throw sparklers.

• Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop

spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

• Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.

Pictured: The Texas Outlaw Fireworks stand is stocking up for the July 4th holiday. Residents couldn’t shoot fireworks last year due to a countywide burn ban. From left, Maranda and Chloe Baker of Silsbee stand in front of some merchandise at the stand on Highway 87 N. in Little Cypress. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball