By BRAD KELLAR
The ban on outdoor burning will remain in effect in Hunt County until at least Monday of next week, at which time the Commissioners Court will decide whether to renew the ban.
A special session of the Hunt County Commissioners Court has been scheduled for 9 a.m. August 19 in the Auxiliary Courtroom, 2700 Johnson Street in Greenville.
The county was placed under a ban on outdoor burning Monday, as County Judge John Horn signed a disaster declaration in the wake of several recent major fires.
This week’s scattered showers and thunderstorms have done little to alleviate the severe drought conditions which helped fuel the fires.
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.
Guidelines call for instituting or maintaining a burn ban whenever a county’s average readings under the Keetch-Byram Drought Index reach 475 or higher. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index measures soil moisture.
A reading of 800 is the highest on the scale, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.
As of Wednesday, the county’s readings under the index ranged from 504 to 716, with an countywide average of 604.