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Burn Bans Extended in Some Texas Counties

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Emergency crews battling a wildfire in Strawn, Texas. | Image by Tom Pennington, Getty Images

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Multiple counties and cities in North Texas have been put under extended burn bans due to recent dry and hot weather conditions. A 90-day extended outdoor burn ban was implemented in Denton and Collin Counties, WFAA reported. The ban was put in place by the County Commissioners Court and will be in place until October 9, or until the Texas Forest Service deems it is not needed anymore. 

The County Commissioners Court could also lift the ban early, according to WFAA. 

“In Texas, local governments are empowered to take action on the behalf of those they serve,” the Texas A&M Forest Service website states. “When drought conditions exist, a burn ban can be put in place by a county judge or county commissioners court prohibiting or restricting outdoor burning for public safety.”

The City of Prosper announced they would also follow the burn ban guidelines as well. The ban is currently implemented for unincorporated areas in both counties, WFAA reported. There are exceptions for authorized activities, such as firefighter training or public utility operations. 

Smokers, grills, or similar tools can be used if the embers or coals are contained in an appropriate device. 

Burn bans have also been implemented in Montgomery and Travis County. Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway asked county commissioners to extend the county’s current burn ban, KXAN reported. 

Callaway said he made the request because of the recent heat and humidity in the region. 

He told KXAN, “With the rate that we’re going right now, we’re now getting into a situation where our heavier fuels are losing their moisture at a rapid rate as well, which is going to create larger fires.”

Travis County Commissioners voted to extend the ban until August 10 unless conditions improve. Fines for not following the burn ban can be up to $500. 

“We’re in dire need of some rain,” Callaway told KXAN, “which it does not look like we’re going to get any time soon.”

Montgomery County issued a 30-day burn ban on July 5, ABC 13 reported, because of the drought in southeast parts of the state. 

Over the 4th of July weekend, the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to dozens of grass and wood fires, and many were chased by fireworks. According to the fire department, the fires caused by fireworks were quickly contained. 

In Navarro County over the recent holiday weekend, there was a firework ban in effect in the county’s unincorporated areas, NBC 5 reported. The ban was approved by Judge H.M. Davenport, who felt it was necessary.  

Davenport told NBC 5 at the time, “This is not something we wanted to do, of course, but it’s something we felt was absolutely necessary to protect the interest of the public and to save a whole bunch of people’s livelihood, should a fire happen.”

A total of 211 counties in Texas have burn bans in place, according to Texas A&M. As of July 15, there were six current wildfires in the state.

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