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Hernando County's July Fourth fun comes with caution

Nico Buros, 3, left, shops for fireworks Friday with his aunt, Sabrina Hunt, 28, and Dedric Hall at the Galaxy Fireworks tent on Cortez Boulevard.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Nico Buros, 3, left, shops for fireworks Friday with his aunt, Sabrina Hunt, 28, and Dedric Hall at the Galaxy Fireworks tent on Cortez Boulevard.

BROOKSVILLE — Gary McTague and his son Daniel were worried. A fire marshal inspecting their fireworks tent earlier this week had warned them about a would-be burn ban in Hernando County.

The pair operate the fireworks tent off Cortez Boulevard in front of Buffet City. It's their first year running the business that caters to Independence Day revelers, and they were worried that a potential ban would hurt their inaugural sales.

It has rained every day since.

The ban that had worried them was cleared from the County Commission's agenda at the last minute Tuesday because the rain has reduced the threat of wildfire.

Throughout the weekend, residents can expect typical Floridian summer weather, with highs in the 90s inland and temperatures near the mid-to-upper 80s for those closer to the coast, according to Jennifer McNatt, a forecaster for the National Weather Service. She said there was a 20-30 percent chance of scattered afternoon thunderstorms through Monday.

Firecracker fans aren't the only ones paying attention to how new rules could impact their fun this holiday weekend.

For boaters, a recently enacted county ordinance has created a 300-foot no-wake zone around any dredge equipment in the waters off the county. The measure is aimed at reducing interference with the ongoing dredge operation in Hernando Beach Channel.

Paul Pelletier, vice commander for the Coast Guard Auxillary from Hernando to Tallahassee, said anyone piloting a watercraft should be especially patient when driving near the dredge equipment and during their boating experience at large. He said there would be a lot of people taking their boats into the gulf over the weekend, especially since scallop season started a week ago.

"They just need to be patient," he said.

Greg Worth, a manager at Snapper Marina in Hernando Beach, said the dredge operators have been cordial to those in the channel, but he warned his fellow boaters to keep alert at the boat ramps.

"There's a lot of inexperienced boaters on the water during holiday weekends," he said.

Back at the fireworks tent in front of Buffet City on Cortez Boulevard, Matt Guthrie and his friends were browsing the selection of boomers and bottle rockets Thursday. He said the group was looking forward to shooting fireworks on the Fourth of July. He fondly remembered celebrating the holiday, on which he and his friends shot fireworks.

"Mortars were the best," he said.

Melvin Backman can be reached at mbackman@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Hernando County's July Fourth fun comes with caution 07/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 11:09am]
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