By BRAD KELLAR
Last week’s rains have encouraged dozens of counties to remove bans on outdoor burning.
But Hunt County and most surrounding counties did not jump on the bandwagon and remained under burn bans as of this morning.
Approximately two inches of rain were reported in many locations across Hunt County between Thursday night and Friday evening, reducing the county’s drought conditions from “extreme” to “moderate.”
A reading of 800 under the Keetch-Byram Drought Index is the highest on the scale, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation. Hunt County’s readings under the index prior to last week’s storms ranged from 697 to 778 with an average across the county of 748.
Monday evening, the index ranged from 328 to 669, with an average of 580.
Before the storms, more than 150 counties across Texas were under bans on outdoor burning. As of this morning, that number had dipped to 94. Hunt County, as well as Collin, Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Rains and Rockwall counties still had the bans in place, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Hunt County has been under a on outdoor burning since August 12. Under the ban no outdoor burning is permitted in the unincorporated areas of the county, including the burning of household garbage.
The order does not restrict the outdoor use of welding, cutting torches and other similar tools, provided a separate individual is present to observe for fires and sparks and to have some type of fire extinguisher present.
The order does not prohibit outdoor cooking but it does restrict the cooking activities to an enclosed apparatus, designed for cooking purposes.