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More counties approve bans on fireworks

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 7, 2000

County governments in Citrus, Hernando, Pinellas and Pasco counties joined Hillsborough on Tuesday in banning the sale and use of fireworks until the area gets some significant rainfall.

The Citrus ban will last for at least seven days and can be renewed by the County Commission chairman. Hernando will keep the ban in place until Gov. Jeb Bush lifts emergency restrictions put in place during the drought.

Pinellas County will reconsider the restrictions every seven days. And in Pasco County, commissioners unanimously voted to ban the sale of fireworks and sparklers for at least seven days. After that, the ban can be renewed in 72-hour increments by Chairwoman Pat Mulieri.

Citrus Public Safety Director Charles Poliseno said commissioners should keep the ban in effect until Citrus County's drought index drops to the 500-range on the 800-point scale. The county's average drought reading on Tuesday was 727, but Poliseno said parts of the county were as low as 639 and as high as 791.

"We'd like to take a look at the overall conditions before recommending when the ban should be lifted," Poliseno said.

Hillsborough's Executive Policy Group issued an emergency ban on fireworks sales and use last week. Pasco previously banned the private use of fireworks, though sales were still legal. And Hernando had banned the use of fireworks without a permit on March 28, but sales were legal until Tuesday's action.

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