Burn bans in Texas

The extended drought conditions this summer have resulted in many Texas counties enacting bans on outdoor burning. The Hunt County Commissioners Court may decide to do enact a local burn ban when it meets Tuesday.

It has been almost three years since Hunt County has been under a ban on outdoor burning.

That may change early next week when the Commissioners Court considers whether to institute a countywide burn ban.

The ban is among the items included in a special session set for 10 a.m. in the Auxiliary Courtroom, 2700 Johnson St. in Greenville.

Hunt County Fire Marshal Richard Hill is scheduled to meet with commissioners during the meeting. Hill said he spoke with County Judge Bobbie Stovall and the commissioners about the ban prior to the June 28 meeting, but no action was taken.

Since then the drought and fire danger has only gotten worse.

Should the ban be instituted Tuesday, it would outlaw the outdoor burning of trash or other items in any of the unincorporated areas of Hunt County. A violation of the ordinance can result in a fine of up to $500 for each occurrence. Also, if an illegal burn during the ban causes damage to another person’s property, the incident will be investigated as arson.

The ordinance would not prohibit outdoor cooking in an enclosed apparatus designed for cooking, such as a grill.

Temperatures have continue to increase each afternoon, with little precipitation expected during the next several days. The National Weather Service forecast is calling for high temperatures in the triple digits each day next week.

The Texas A&M Forest Service on Friday included Hunt County under a “critically dry” forecast for fuel, or the vegetation that could assist in the combustion and spread of a fire Friday.

As of Friday, 181 counties in Texas had been placed under bans on outdoor burning due to the rising fire danger, including Kaufman and Van Zandt counties. Hunt County has not been under a ban on outdoor burning since September 2019.

Parts of Texas have already been scorched by wildfires.

 In Palo Pinto County, which is just west of Weatherford, firefighters have been battling a massive wildfire since June 23. As of Friday, the 11,598-acre fire was 77% contained. So far, the fire has not destroyed any houses and there have been no deaths.

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