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

December 21st, 2010
Hays commissioners enact burn ban


The Hays County Commissioners Court authorized restrictions on outdoor burning for the next 90 days, citing the 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 fire marshal.

The order issued by the court on Tuesday does allow 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 firefighting training, public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; harvesting of agricultural crops and burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager.

The wet spring and summer produced abundant amounts of vegetation that is now, in many cases, tall and dry, providing excellent 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. Violators of the ban could face a class C misdemeanor charge with a fine up to $500.

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