Most of East Texas steers clear of a burn ban...so far - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Most of East Texas steers clear of a burn ban...so far

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - With dry conditions and fast blowing winds, firefighters know even the smallest blaze could turn into a dangerous and destructive situation.

A majority of Texas counties are currently under a burn ban.  Angelina county was the latest county to enact a ban, the fire danger is so serious the county judge even declared it a crime to even have fireworks.   A large portion of east Texas is still without an "established" burn ban.

"If we don't rain, and significant rain next week, we will be under a burn ban," says the first assistant fire Marshall for Smith county, Oren Hale.  

A Possible rainy day next week keeps Hale from pushing for a ban, he says, "Were going to wait till next week to make a decision, if we get significant rain, we'll dodge the bullet and put off a burn ban for a little bit longer."

Hale says a burn ban can hurt the economy in a number of ways, especially for construction workers.

"If they can't clear that land, and dispose of the trees and brush with fire, that means they can't start the construction project, that means a loss of jobs," says Hale.

Firework stands could also see losses with the upcoming fourth of July holiday.

Firework stand owner, Chris Harris says, "As a rule of thumb, you can expect anywhere from a 35 to 45 percent reduction in your sales, which is a big amount of money."

Smith county uses several factors to determine if they need a burn ban, but ultimately safety comes first...along with one suggestion.

"Without us having to impose penalties for burning, just stop burning when it's dangerous to burn," says Hale.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly