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

December 21st, 2010
Commissioners issue burn ban


Hays County commissioners authorized a 90-day burn ban Tuesday, citing dry and windy conditions throughout the county.

Under the ban, residents in unincorporated Hays County are prohibited from outdoor burning, except when authorized by the county fire marshal.

The order allows for the burning of household trash or domestic waste materials if a burn barrel with a metal wire mesh screen is used to prevent the spread of sparks and flames. Other exceptions include harvesting of agricultural crops, burns conducted by a prescribed burn manager, firefighting training, and public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations.

The wet spring and summer produced abundant vegetation that is now, in many cases, tall and dry, providing fuel for wild land fires. As of Tuesday, the average Keetch‐Byram Drought Index for Hays County was 532. The index ranges from 0 to 800, with the highest end representing the driest soil and air conditions.

While fireworks are not banned, many local vendors have voluntarily stopped selling the types most likely to cause grass and brush fires – missiles with fins and rockets with sticks. Residents who plan to use fireworks are urged to use extreme caution.

Residents can help cut down the risk of grass fires by making sure vegetation is cut back and periodically watered.

A violator of the ban could face a class C misdemeanor charge with a fine up to $500.

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