Fire marshal explains restrictions as 13 East Texas counties issue burn bans
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -Thirteen East Texas counties have issued burn bans. The Texas Forest Service continues to list East Texas in the moderate range for fire danger. The question is, what are the requirements for issuing a burn ban? And what restrictions are there in a burn ban?
During drought and high fire risk, a burn ban can be issued by a county judge or county commissioners court, prohibiting or restricting outdoor burning for public safety.
“It defines anything, potentially anything that would be a fire that could get out of control. We try to prohibit any type of permitted fires. To not permit any fires where we might exceed the capabilities of our local resources. We haven’t had a lot of fires that have exceeded the resources. We’re getting there,” said Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore.
Prior to 1999, most burn bans were based on the Disaster Act, which required a disaster declaration.
In 1999 the Texas legislature enacted House Bill 2620, authorizing counties to prohibit or restrict outdoor burning.
As we reach the height of summer with 100-degree temperatures and very little rain, everything becomes fuel; dried grass, shrubs, and even the trees.
The ban is a way to limit the risk of manmade fires, and conserve resources for natural occurrences.
“This fire off of Stephanie Street in Longview was started by a lightning strike from the storm we got last night. Gregg County is not under a burn ban yet; we’re really looking into the possibility of one,” Moore says.
Trash burning or controlled burns are restricted. Barbecuing, while not restricted, is discouraged.
“(If you) barbecue outside, please extinguish those embers that come out of those boxes,” the fire marshal says.
Violators of a burn ban could be cited for failure to comply with the emergency management plan, and could face a fine or possible jail time.
To see the full list of East Texas counties under a burn ban, click here.
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