Outdoor burns banned in another ETX county - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Outdoor burns banned in another ETX county

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CAMP COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Another county declared an emergency burn ban on Sunday, following worsening drought conditions that led to small brush fires over the weekend.

Camp county officials said they were not supposed to meet until Monday on the issue, but two fires on Saturday forced immediate action.

Pittsburg resident Donald Pipkin has been adding to a large brush pile in his front yard, waiting for branches to dry out to burn them. But now, he is one of many residents who will have to hold off on their controlled burns until further notice.

"I got an emergency call, something about we're in a burn ban and no outdoor burning is allowed."

But it is not something that surprises the Camp county native.

"I was hoping it wouldn't," Pipkin said. "Everything is still kind of green, not dead like it usually is. The last several years, it's been dry and has rained hardly at all."

The ban means any dead shrubbery or tree branches that residents in the county might have collected cannot be burned, but residents are allowed to continue other outdoor activities like grilling, as long as it is not left unsupervised.

"We don't want to limit people to where they can't do the essential functions that they might need to do in a rural area," Camp County Judge Thomas Cravey said.

Camp county is just one on growing list of counties looking to stomp out any outdoor burning. Other East Texas counties that have already been placed under a burn ban include: Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Kaufman, Marion, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Upshur counties.

Cravey said the move is an effort to prevent larger fires like one that burned over 100 acres in Upshur county last week.

"There's been numerous fires in the last two to three days, even since we put that meeting on the agenda," he said. "With the heat we've had the last few days and the continuation of the drought condition and it getting worse, I felt like we should go ahead and get it in place and not wait."

As for Pipkin's brush pile, he said he will just play it by ear.

"I'll just wait until it rains, and they go off the burn ban and then I'll burn it," Pipkin said. "I've been waiting for it to get a little cooler anyways before I set it on fire."

The county now turning to residents to help prevent any future blazes.

As of Sunday, most East Texas counties are classified with moderate to high fire danger risk. Counties north of I-20 are classified as under a severe drought.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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