Fire bans are enacted around East Texas

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX ( KTRE ) - More Texas counties are taking caution when it comes to the prevention of wild fires.    In all 142 Texas counties have enacted burn bans.  In East Texas, you'll find burn bans in Sabine and Houston counties. Trinity county joined in on Monday and today Nacogdches County passed the order.

Under current conditions, fire flares fast and there's no significant moisture, so deciding on a burn ban is a no brainer.   There was no discussion by Nacogdoches County Commissioners before taking the vote. Judge Joe English said, "I hope maybe we can just do this for a week and maybe we can get some rain today or tomorrow and we can take this thing off on Tuesday. "

At the time of the vote the wind was picking up and the clouds were rolling in creating hope for rain. But it's not wise to gamble on a hunch when it comes to fire.   A new fire warning sign stands outside the Texas Forest Service Nacogdoches office.   Smoky can provide a quick reminder on whether or not to burn there, but for everybody else the Texas Forest Service provides maps about the dangers across the state.   You can find the maps and other good fire danger advice on the web at the Texas Interagency Coordination Center.

District forester John Boyette noted that,  "Panola County, they're already in the extreme range so we're not probably too far behind. " The drought index is based on scientific formulas. There may be rain falling and in the forecast, but it has to be a lot and widespread to lift a burn ban. Boyette warned, " It doesn't take very long for that moisture to be gone. Even a half inch is just going to be soaked up. "

The Texas Forest Service tells property owners to rake up that debris from around the house and keep those brush piles far away. Boyette advised, " Look around your house. Is something liable to burn if you have a fire?"

Shortly after the burn ban was enacted a small fire was discovered on Highway 7 West. Luckily it put itself out and the property owner escaped a potential fine. If there is a next time, they might not be so lucky.