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2014-08-21

Burn ban back on & off

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

On the advice of Bandera County Fire Marshal John Stith, commissioners enacted a countywide burn ban on Thursday, August 14. Effective immediately, the ban prohibited outdoor burning except in burn barrels - but wait, there's more!
At 8 am, Tuesday, August 19, Judge Richard Evans, using his authority, rescinded the ban, noting, "The best way to ensure rain is to impose a burn ban." In some areas over five inches of ran was recorded.
After two days of overcast skies and oppressive mugginess reminiscent of a hothouse, a deluge began during the evening of Monday, August 18 - and the drizzling hasn't stopped as of this writing.
As a result, the burn ban is off. However, knowing how quickly things can revert back to normal - i.e., bone dry - after the last bit of precipitation has left the sky, county residents are advised to call the Bandera County Sheriff's Office at 830-796-3771 to determine the current status of the ban. By Thursday, August 21, when the Courier is published, the ban might be back on.
And, just to reiterate, when a countywide burn ban is in effect, household trash and debris must be burned in specially designed barrels covered with fine mesh screens. Open burning of trash and brush is prohibited.
In addition, even under a burn ban, welding is still permissible. However, Stith urges anyone welding or otherwise working with torches always to use a spotter and keep a fire extinguisher or water source close at hand. Historically, welders have also been asked to refrain from plying their trade on days when winds exceed 20 miles per hours and on "red flag" days.
Even with the current wet conditions, Stith advises residents to use common sense when burning - even in specially designed barrels - and when welding.