By BRAD KELLAR
All of the counties in the northeast corner of the State of Texas are now under bans on outdoor burning, as the extreme drought conditions continue.
Delta and Rains counties were placed under burn bans Monday, raising the total number of counties under bans to 154.
Hunt County has been under a ban 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.
This 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.
Hunt County remains under an extreme drought. 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 as of Monday afternoon ranged from 697 to 778 with an average across the county of 748.
The National Weather Service forecast was calling for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area through Thursday, with a better chance of rain possible Friday.