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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Two Texas Counties Lift Burn Bans

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Close-up of dry leaves and brush burning. | Image by ssbooklet, Shutterstock

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Two counties in central Texas became some of the first in the region to lift burn bans they put in place in response to drought conditions and high heat. Bosque County and Bell County both lifted their bans that were implemented in June, KWTX reported. The decision was made after recent rainfall in Central Texas. 

The Bosque burn ban was lifted on August 29, while the Bell ban was lifted on August 31. 

Kirk Turner, an EMC in Bosque County, stated the risk of wildfire could increase as the region dries out, which could put another ban into effect. 

“Putting a burn ban back in place now is not as difficult as it was before,” Turner told KWTX. “It’s not resisted by anyone. If it’s what needs to happen it’s what happens and we’ll keep it in place as long as we think it’s the right thing to do.”

Bosque County plans to continue monitoring the situation while Bell County will revisit the possibility of another burn ban on September 6, according to KWTX.

Before Bosque and Bell County residents burn fire, they are asked to notify their local sheriff’s department to avoid fire crews being called out. 

A Clifton volunteer firefighter, Lynne Dahl, told KWTX, “If you don’t call in, and it’s legal for you to burn, then if someone else sees the smoke, they call 911 and if they don’t know you’re burning, we’re called out to the scene.”

People are also asked to have water or a fire extinguisher nearby as they monitor the fire, and clear a path to minimize the risk of flame spread. 

Residents in both counties need to be able to burn trash or brush, according to Turner. 

“They need a chance to burn their trash,” he told KWTX. “Many people in the county have to burn trash. They need a chance to clear the brush. So, we thought we’d give them that chance. This is a good opportunity.”

The Texas A&M Forest Service shares that local governments can enact burn bans for their communities. This can be done by a county commissioner’s court or a county judge.  

In East Texas, the recent rainfall was not enough to warrant lifting burn bans in the area, KLTV reported. 

Hallsville Fire Marshall Bert Scott said it was not widespread enough. 

“The rain that we’re getting is really isolated rain,” Scott told KLTV. “It’s not widespread, so some places are getting rain other places aren’t, so it still means we’re in that drought situation and fire danger. That’s not going to go away just because we get some rain.”

Scott added that more rainfall is expected to hit East Texas, and it may be enough for local officials to lift burn bans. 

“If we get the projected rain that they say we’re going to get, I think the last projection I saw was by the end of next week, maybe six inches,” he said. “It might help, but if it’s still just isolated pockets of rain and not widespread, we’re still going to be in a drought.”

The fine for illegal burning is $500 in Harrison County, according to KLTV.        

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