NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - No doubt, a lightning strike that started an 86-acre woods fire near Etoile over the weekend influenced Nacogdoches County Commissioners' decision to enact a burn ban Tuesday.
Afternoon showers in some parts of the county aren't enough to eliminate the high fire danger.
Nacogdoches firefighters put out a small grassfire on Loop 224. Perhaps a burning cigarette, a hot catalytic heater from a stopped car or a spark from a dragging chain caused it. Any number of causes can start a fire when the drought index is so high.
"The 14 day outlook puts us in about the 700 and 800 range, which is extreme danger, so I personally felt it was time to be proactive and do something now," said Elton Milstead, Nacogdoches County's Pct. 4 county commissioner.
Nacogdoches county commissioners enacted a burn ban. Within minutes, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the burn ban flag.
"August is typically the hottest and driest time of the year, which just about everybody knows and that's not the time to be burning outside, unless you are a professional, and you really know what you're doing, but even then it can be pretty dicey," said John Boyett, a district forester for the Texas A&M Forest Service.
East Texas News visited the site of a controlled ban that was burning Monday near Appleby. Now, the project has been placed on hold. The contractor can a special permit to continue the work, but will most likely wait for safer conditions."
And those conditions can vary in an area as big as Nacogdoches County.
"At one point, up in the Cushing area, they got 4 inches in one night, and we got less than a quarter of an inch, so that's the variation," Milstead said.
The court will monitor rainfall and drought conditions, but for now the burn ban order will expire in 90 days unless it's extended.
Nacogdoches County is the sixth county to enact a burn ban. The counties of Houston, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby and Trinity are also under burn bans.