AUSTIN (KXAN) — Outdoor burn bans are in effect for all of Central Texas. Gillespie and Lampasas Counties put theirs into effect on July 24 and 25, respectively.
KXAN Meteorologist Rich Segal spoke with Karen Stafford, the fire prevention program coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. She said that it is not the state that issues burn bans but each individual county. Enforcement is also done on the local level, be it the city or the county.
This helps to explain how two counties adjacent to each other put their burn bans in place a month apart. San Saba County was the first to put its burn ban in effect on June 26. Lampasas County’s burn ban didn’t start until July 25.
Burn bans take into account rainfall and available soil moisture. Another consideration is how many responses their local fire departments have seen.
She encourages everyone to be mindful of all local regulations when a burn ban is instituted because each county has different rules regarding what can and cannot be done. The county provides all the tools and information to help each county make its own decisions but will not do much more than that.
She urged Texans to make sure they are paying attention to their outdoor activities, things that could create heat or sparks. Tow chains should be securely fastened when pulling a trailer and not create sparks because they are dragging on the pavement.
She closed by suggesting that when counties don’t have burn bans, where burning is allowed, keep piles small and manageable and never leave that fire unattended. Have a water supply nearby. Also, make sure the fire is fully extinguished.