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

January 29th, 2013
Hays County burn ban back on

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SUBMITTED REPORT

Outdoor burning in Hays County has been banned again under a measured approved Tuesday by the Hays County Commissioners Court.

The ban does not include charcoal and gas grills. It does, however, include trash burning barrels even if they have a screen covering. The court lifted the ban Jan. 8.

The ban stays in place for 90 days unless the court lifts it before it expires. Violations of the burn ban are a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.

On Monday, the drought index for most of the county was 497 and expected to increase with a red flag warning in effect for high winds Tuesday and Wednesday. A reading approaching 575 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index is one of the triggers for a drought index, Fire Marshal Mark Chambers said.

“Even with damp ground, winds and decreased humidity will quickly dry the outside of already dead grasses and other fuels, making them extremely combustible. The drought index doesn’t figure in those types of conditions,” Chambers said.

Drivers should avoid parking vehicles on grassy areas since automobile catalytic converters can start fires along the road. Tossing cigarettes — even ones that appear to be out — can spark a fire.

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