Nodding to recent rainfall, the Hays County Commissioners Court this morning lifted its outdoor burning ban, but warned that it could be re-imposed in a matter of days.
Assistant fire marshal Clint Browning told commissioners that the county is still too dry to justify lifting the ban under normal rules. However, he said, recent rain and the forecast of more to come creates a window to lift the ban, with caution.
“We do have a situation where vegetation is not simply dry, it’s dead. Rain is not going to make it green because it’s already dead. [But] we’re comfortable, if you decide to lift the burn ban, that it would be safe to do so at this point,” Browning said.
Browning was speaking on behalf of Fire Marshal Mark Chambers who is hospitalized at Seton Medical Center Hays but has been in consultation with the county’s fire chiefs, Browning said.
The court voted to lift the ban 5-0. If expected rainfall does not materialize, County Judge Bert Cobb can re-impose the ban on an emergency basis until the court meets next Tuesday for its regular session.
According to Texas A&M University’s weather service, the majority of Hays County rates between 600 and 700 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index with pockets in relatively better shape at 500-600 on the scale. Typically, a burn ban is put in place when the county reaches 575 on the drought index.Email | Print