CLARKSVILLE, Tenn- Hot, dry conditions have created a virtual tinderbox across the area. But the ban on fireworks, and very real threat of fires, is being ignored by hundreds of people in one mid state town. Just ask any Montgomery County 911 dispatcher.
Stephanie Burns saw hundreds of calls over the past few days from residents who reported illegal fireworks being lit in their neighborhood.
"It's more scary than anything because we do know how serious it is if something does catch fire," she said.
241 concerned neighbors called 911 since the fireworks ban went into effect last week. Officials are concerned people aren't taking the threat of fires as seriously as they should be.
"I don' think it's that they don't care I think they think that fire will never happen but they don't realize we've seen fires, we've seen people's houses on fire. Not this year, but in previous years and it wasn't nearly as dry as it is now," said Jim Knoll with Clarksville Police.
The mayor of neighboring Cheatham County is nervous too. There's a burn ban there, but no fireworks ban and that is not by choice. The Mayor does not have access to something called the County Powers Act that would allow him to ban fireworks in time for the 4th of July. David McCullough feels like he has his hands tied and can only cross his fingers that residents will use common sense.
"Since we have no legal leg to stand on we'd like people to use common sense and hold off until we get some sort of rain," McCullough said.
That looked possible at one point Monday afternoon, as scattered storms moved through the area. But it doesn't appear to be enough to make fireworks safe.
"I hope it rains that is what we are praying for," he said.
Burns and other dispatchers are likely praying for it to, before the next call is the one they've been trying to avoid this holiday week.
"We would rather take 100 fireworks calls than even one structure fire," said Burns.
Clarksville police weren't just giving out a slap on the wrist to people they found lighting fireworks over the weekend. They did write several 50 dollar citations and that doesn't include court costs involved later.