Dozens issued citations for illegal burning - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Dozens issued citations for illegal burning

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The fire danger is made worse by East Texans ignoring the burn ban.

In fact, Smith County authorities say they've responded to at least 15 illegal burning calls since Friday, ticketing five people just Monday.

Juan Ortiz was cited for burning trash in his backyard. He says he had no idea Smith County is under a burn ban.

"I was just trying to clean you know. You see a lot of (point at the trees) on the ground," said Ortiz.

Crews were called to the scene to put the illegal fires out. Authorities say there is too much at stake to burn right now.

"I mean the wind up there was blowing this way, if that had gotten out, it could have killed animals here," said a Smith County Fire Marshal spokesperson.

Earlier, authorities were called to a Red Springs home where a report came in that copper wire was burning in a neighbor's backyard.

"Neighbors are getting angry at neighbors because of their burning. Of course neighbors are calling 911 because their neighbors are burning," said Oren Hal with the Smith County Fire Marshal's Office.

We met Beverly Mapps on her lunch break. She was livid when we told her a neighbor across the street was caught burning.

"That's just no concern for your neighbor and I don't think that's right," said Mapps.

She says if she sees someone burning she will call police. Mapps said she'll even escort them to the scene.

"That's just how I feel about it and I would expect them to do the same thing because you can lose your property and it can never be replaced," said Mapps. "Memories can never be replaced."

Authorities say if you're caught burning, expect them at your home and a citation in your hands.

The fine for illegal burning is about $500. Authorities say it's much cheaper to opt for trash pick-up during this drought.

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