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WILDFIRE RISK PERSIST IN DROUGHT
La Salle County commissioners voted late last month to set a new ban on all outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of the county, effective for 90 days.
The ban comes in the wake of a caution by the Texas Forest Service that ongoing drought conditions have increased the risk of fast-moving wildfires that endanger lives and property.
“The commissioners’ court finds that circumstances present in all or part of the unincorporated area of the county create a public safety hazard that would be exacerbated by outdoor burning,” County Judge Leodoro Martinez III read from the order on Tuesday afternoon, January 24.
La Salle County’s previous burn ban, established in September last year, expired in December.
The ban prohibits all outdoor burning of trash, brush, and other materials in ways that are deemed to create a risk of spreading wildfires. Violators are subject to charges of Class C misdemeanor under the local government code, punishable by fines of up to $500.
Uncovered fire pits, trash burning barrels without screen lids, bonfires and camp fires are not allowed under the ban because of the high risk that embers may ignite dry brush and grasses in the vicinity and spread uncontrollably, according to the county government.
Drivers are being prompted not to park vehicles in tall grass or over dry brush where heated engines and exhaust systems may start fires. Welders, outdoor workers, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, builders and ranchers are being cautioned to avoid creating sparks, to control their work environments, remove dry brush and grass from work areas, and to remain vigilant for fire hazards.
Exceptions to the ban include only approved exercises for firefighter training, public utility, activities related to the energy industry, and agricultural burns prescribed by a licensed authority under the Natural Resources Code and meeting all standards of Section 153.047 of that code.