Recent rain not enough to lift East Texas burn bans

We have had a little rain in East Texas, but local fire officials say it’s simply not enough to call off the burn bans.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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HALLSVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - We have had a little rain in East Texas, but local fire officials say it’s simply not enough to call off the burn bans. And although they advise keeping grass cut so there’s less fuel, there can be a fire danger from lawnmowers.

Rain in East Texas seems to be happening a bit more in recent weeks, but it’s not the drenching rain needed to lessen wildfire danger according to Hallsville Fire Marshall Bert Scott.

“The rain that we’re getting is really isolated rain. It’s not widespread, so some places are getting rain other places aren’t, so it still means we’re in that drought situation and fire danger. That’s not going to go away just because we get some rain,” Scott said.

But, is there an indication of when bans might be lifted?

“If we get the projected rain that they say we’re going to get, I think the last projection I saw was by the end of next week, maybe six inches. It might help, but if it’s still just isolated pockets of rain and not widespread, we’re still going to be in a drought,” Scott said.

Scott says burn bans last until authorities lift them because of adequate moisture. He says keeping yards trimmed cuts down on fuel for wildfires, but mowing might cause a fire.

“Just like you strike a knife on a piece of rock to get a spark, the blade is a piece of metal, and if it hits a rock a certain way it can cause a spark that can possibly create a fire,” Scott said.

Scott recently returned from fighting wildfires in West Texas where one fire was started by a storm.

“We did have one fire out around Big Spring that was caused by a lightning strike,” Scott said.

He says that could happen here.

“Everything is dry. A lightning strike could cause a fire even if it’s pouring down rain,” Scott said.

So, Scott says a little rain won’t reduce wildfire danger.

According to the Harrison County Fire Marshal, in Harrison County alone they have written 34 warnings and handed out 46 citations for illegal burning. The citation has a fine of up to $500.

Related: Wood County fire marshal says burn ban still in effect despite rain