Awareness of dry conditions due to heat highlighted following Pleasure Island fireworks fire

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2023

After the annual citywide fireworks display inadvertently resulted in a brush fire on Pleasure Island, Port Arthur officials are reminding residents that extreme heat has resulted in dry conditions.

The annual display was part of a City of Port Arthur and Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Fourth of July fun, which ended with a fireworks show visible from the seawall.

Port Arthur Fire Chief Greg Benson said it’s believed a blaze started when one of the fireworks fell and landed in the weeds.

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An estimated 40 acres of land was encompassed by fire.

Engine 2 was on site when the fire broke out, Benson said, and firefighters spent several hours extinguishing and monitoring the situation, which they have continued to monitor Wednesday.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Benson is reminding residents that, even when the county isn’t under a burn ban, it doesn’t mean conditions are safe for situations that could result in fire.

“Right now because things are dry, the potential for a wildland urban interface fire has increased because they could be outside and throw a cigarette on the ground or think, ‘lets go cook and have a barbecue in the back yard’ and embers start flying around,” Benson said.

According to Meteorologist Joe Rua with the National Weather Service, this is the third hottest summer on record for the Southeast Texas region since 1901.

The record high was in 2017.

“In June we were above normal but early in the month we didn’t have too much heat,” he said. “During the end of the month is where it started getting above normal.”

Recently, Rua said, the Port Arthur/Beaumont region has been experiencing high temperatures from 95-97 degrees. Depending on the dew points, the heat index has ranged from 102-107 degrees.