By BRAD KELLAR
The local drought numbers continue to edge closer to the need for a ban on outdoor burning.
Multiple counties in the surrounding area have already instituted burn bans, with little chance of rain in the forecast this week.
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 Monday, the county’s readings under the index ranged from 496 to 659, with an average across the county of 592.
Hunt County Fire Marshal Richard Hill has indicated there would be a need for a ban on outdoor burning if the county’s average under the index reached 600 or higher.
Hunt County is not currently under a burn ban, although there are still certain restrictions to outdoor burning. The burning of household trash is only permissible during daylight hours and the wind speed cannot be greater then 23 mph. Natural materials, such as brush and limbs can be burned, but not treated or painted lumber. No prohibited material — including but not limited to rubber, plastics, wire, insulation and furniture — can be burned, and a responsible person must be present during active burning.
As of Monday afternoon Collin, Fannin, Lamar and Rockwall counties all had bans on outdoor burning in place.
The National Weather Service forecast was calling for a slight chance of rain in Hunt County Wednesday.