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Brazos County faces burn ban due to extreme weather conditions

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 22:31:03-04

BRYAN, Texas — Summer is still heating up, drought is sitting in and with the Fourth of July right around the corner, the Brazos County Commissioner’s office is deciding if they will put a burn ban into effect for the county.

Last week, the Brazos County Commissioner’s Office decided to table the idea of putting a burn ban in place, that decision could be different at tomorrow’s meeting, Tuesday, June 28.

“We made a decision just to table it for one week because we weren’t over into the easy-to-make decision part and we did have a mixed recommendation from the chiefs to postpone it one week,” said Russ Ford, Brazos County Commissioner, Precinct 2.

High temperatures and no rain is the ideal combination for putting a burn ban in place, and that’s becoming a concern here in Brazos County.

“If you watch the weather report, the forecast, we’re predicted to have rain today,” said Commissioner Ford. “If we got a half an inch to an inch of rain that could be a decision-maker if it was county-wide.”

Commissioner ford said if issued, a burn ban would be in place for 90 days and take effect immediately.

Duane Strange with emergency management in Burleson County shares how they decided to put a burn ban in place last Tuesday.

“Driving down the road and just taking a note of what the vegetation is looking like and also too, we make the decision by talking to fire chiefs, you know, asking them if they are in favor of a burn ban,” said Duane Strange, Emergency Management Coordinator, Burleson County.

Strange says the fire chiefs are all in favor.

With the Fourth of July coming up, you can still pop fireworks, but he says to be mindful of where they may land.

“If it’s something that’s going to come down in a ball of fire and you’re next to a pasture that’s got pretty high grass, bunch of trees or leaves, I would probably refrain from lighting certain fireworks,” said Strange.

Ford says they will lean heavily on fire chiefs in making a decision on Tuesday.

“My thought right now unless we get a significant amount of rain that the commissioner's court go ahead and decide to put a burn ban on,” said Commissioner Ford.

As of now, there are three surrounding counties under a burn ban: Burleson, Grimes, and Madison.

Depending on the upcoming weather conditions, Brazos County could be the fourth county added to that list.

While burn bans do not prohibit fireworks, Strange said to be mindful of the wind when popping fireworks.

“Especially if the wind is blowing a little bit,” said Strange. “If it lands in higher grass and if it’s still burning like some of them tend to do, sometimes with the different fireworks, they’ll do that.”

Commissioner Ford agrees that our current drought conditions can cause fireworks to spark into a fire.

“Obviously, it’s hot and dry enough that it can cause a fire, just a spark can cause a fire,” said Commissioner Ford.

With continuous high temperatures this summer, rain is needed to offset the drought index here in Brazos County.

“It’s unfortunate,” says Commissioner Ford. “We’re not in control of the weather. We’re at the mercy of mother nature.”

The Brazos County Commissioner’s Office is hopeful for rain as that could offset the decision to place the county under a burn ban.