BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - Our prolonged dry spell is now fizzling out fireworks sales in one Central Arkansas Community.
We're talking about the City of Benton. And until further notice, the five fireworks vendors there can't sell a thing.
Tuesday afternoon's winds blow the sides of this Benton fireworks tent near the Home Depot. That's about all going on here after a city ban on sales.
"I've been doing fireworks probably since I was 12 years old; I've never seen them shut down a tent because of a burn ban before," Matt Jones said.
It was a surprise for Manager Matt Jones that comes with some financial loss.
"Oh definitely, we use this money to pay for hospital bills that we have and student loans," Jones said.
"We're in prevention mode right now and that prevention mode is banning the sale of fireworks and doing everything we can to prevent a wildfire," Fire Chief Bill Ford said.
Benton Fire Chief Bill Ford made the call Monday, according to a city law empowering him to do so when he feels condition ns are ripe for disaster.
"It would be like giving a kid candy and telling a kid not to eat the candy, so we shouldn't be selling them," Chief Ford said.
Other fireworks tents around the city were also quiet Tuesday. Chief Ford says folks can buy fireworks elsewhere but shooting them off in town right now is also banned.
"Just because you purchase them outside the city limits does not allow you to bring them inside and discharge, period," Chief Ford said.
It's a safety crackdown dealers like Jones understand.
"There's nothing you can do about it," Jones said.
But does he think he can get back inside and sell anything before July 4th?
"I'm a religious guy so I will definitely be praying but I'm not going to keep my fingers crossed because it looks pretty dim at this point," Jones said.
Jones says that he actually went ahead and boxed up all his fireworks and loaded them into a truck for storage for now. We also noticed the tent at the Benton Wal-mart parking lot had cleared out as well.
According to officials, the ban won't affect the July 4th display at Benton Freedom Fest.