San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 24th, 2009
County extends burn ban 90 days

By SEAN MARLIN
News Reporter

Hays County went off the burn ban for five days earlier this month, and the word evidently spread like fire.

“If you’ve been in Wimberly the past few days, it has smelled like burning Cedar,” said Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley (R-San Marcos). “My constituents have been pretty happy that they have been able to burn.”

However, fires sometimes spread out of control. Hays County Fire Marshall Mark Chambers said one fire in Precinct 1 spread across two property lines, damaging a well house and a barn.

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to extend the burn ban for 90 days after County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) called an emergency burn ban on March 18. The county had lifted the ban on March 13 because of rains in the area.

In addition to extending the burn ban, commissioners allowed Sumter discretionary powers over the burn ban, so she can work with fire officials to quickly address fire needs. The powers would allow her to remove or extend the burn ban without the weekly meeting of the commissioners court.

“That would help me tremendously,” Chambers said.

The county will hold the fire ban until new plant growth penetrates dead vegetation. Allowing for Spring growth would dramatically slow any outdoor burning to a manageable rate and lower the risk of an out of control fire, as well as reduce the risk to citizens and their property.

“(The burn ban) is needed for the safety of the citizens and the fire officers,” Chambers commented while explaining the dangers fire fighters face if stuck amidst a wild fire.

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