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Frio has only half of last year’s rain so far in 2022
All outdoor burning is illegal in Frio County until at least mid-September, according to an order signed this month by commissioners.
The 90-day continuation of the burn ban was signed Monday, June 13, after commissioners voted unanimously to help reduce the risk of wildfires that may endanger lives and property. Effective from Thursday, June 16, it will expire on Sept. 14, unless commissioners decide to end the order early.
The ban makes it a crime to burn any trash or brush outdoors, to set any agricultural fires without permission, to have bonfires or any uncontrollable pit fires, and makes exceptions only when in the interest of public health and safety authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Certain agricultural fires by farmers and ranchers are permitted only when undertaken by an approved land clearing contractor or manager of prescribed burns under the Natural Resources Code.
Similarly, agricultural burns and special operations such as prickly pear cactus burning for livestock feed, and burn plans developed by the US Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Service may be allowed.
One of the special exceptions allows residents in outlying areas to burn trash in a barrel that is fitted with a wire mesh or grill to prevent embers drifting from the fire and igniting dry brush nearby.
Last week’s renewal of the burn ban came hard on the heels of a report from the Frio Soil & water Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service that indicates the county has received only a fraction of the amount of rain it received last year.
Data for June so far indicates Frio County has received less than four and a quarter inches of precipitation for all of 2022. At this time last year, approximately three times as much rain had fallen in six months.
Rainfall for June was reported at zero last week, but the tally for the same month last year showed more than two and a half inches of rain.
Described as suffering extremely dry conditions under triple-digit daytime temperatures and with persistent winds, the region is regarded by the Texas Forest Service as being at high risk for sudden and fast-moving wildfires that will find fuel in the dry brush.
Area residents are being urged to move all dry vegetation away from buildings and other property and cut brush and overgrowth in order to help reduce the risk of life-threatening damage from wildfire in the present conditions.
The order applies to all unincorporated areas of Frio County, outside the city limits of Pearsall and Dilley. Violations may be prosecuted as Class C misdemeanors and punishable with fines up to $500.
In La Salle County, the last 90-day burn ban was signed on March 7, according to the county and district clerk’s office, and expired during the first week of this month. County commissioners are scheduled to meet this week – June 21 at the earliest – and may be given the option of signing a new order.