San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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FROM STAFF AND SUBMITTED REPORTS

Hays County Judge Bert Cobb lifted the ban on outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of the county on Monday after days of rainfall eased wildfire conditions.

In a written statement, Fire Marshal Mark Chambers urged residents to thoroughly search debris piles before burning, especially those near waterways. The bodies of six-year-old William Charba and four-year-old Leighton McComb remain missing after the Memorial Day weekend flood that claimed the lives of 11 people, including three children, in Hays and Blanco counties.

As a courtesy, property owners who plan to burn debris should notify the Hays County emergency dispatch at 512-393-7896 as well as their local fire department and their neighbors, Chamber said.

As of Monday, most of Hays County registered less than 300 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures wildfire risk based on precipitation and soil moisture. Much of San Marcos and other pockets in the county, however, registered between 300 and 400 on the index, the upper end of the range at which “fuels are beginning to dry and contribute to wildfire intensity [but] heavier fuels will still not readily ignite and burn,” according to the Texas Forest Service.

Outdoor burning is not allowed in the cities of San Marcos, Kyle or Buda under any weather conditions. In the rest of the county, burning is not allowed at night or when winds are predicted at more than 23 mph, whether or not a burn ban has been imposed.

Burn bans are reviewed weekly by the Hays County Commissioners Court, but can be implemented on an emergency basis by the county judge.

A sunset in Driftwood. COVER PHOTO by TREY RATLIFF. SAN MARCOS MERCURY GRAPHIC by BRAD ROLLINS.

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