Forest Service spokesperson says to burn responsibly despite lifted bans
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - With recent rain, most but not all East Texas counties have lifted their burn bans, but an East Texas regional fire coordinator says we’re not out of the woods yet.
In some East Texas counties, you can still see the burn piles stacked up, waiting to be burned. With bans lifted in other counties, burning is back to normal.
“We’ve been accumulating a lot of debris over the last few months. People haven’t been able to burn. Unfortunately, in Texas about 90 percent of our wildfires are human-caused fires,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Fire Coordinator Matt Burnett.
Fire danger is measure by the KBDI index. Anything above 625 is considered dangerous. In Gregg County, that number is 660.
“KBDI just measures one aspect, and that’s soil moisture. The higher that number, the dryer that soil is,” Burnett said.
Though most East Texas counties have now lifted their burn bans, caution is advised if you do burn.
Dennis Floyd is storing his trash in a trailer until Gregg County lifts their burn ban. But, he knows when it is lifted, it’s still dry, and he has to be careful.
“The underbrush is still dry. You don’t set the whole pile on fire. You burn a little bit at a time,” he said.
With camping and hunting seasons on the way, it’s important to remember warnings about camp fires as well.
“They have their camp fires going, and it’s not uncommon for us throughout the week to be going back out to some of these areas where camp fires weren’t extinguished and ended up escaping,” Burnett said.
Even a small fire can turn into a big one.
“Then you got a big problem, and probably a big fine,” Floyd said.
Rain is still needed, so if you can burn, burn responsibly.
“You need to stay with that fire until it’s completely extinguished,” said Burnett. He said citizens need to contact their counties to check whether a burn ban has been lifted or if it’s still in effect.
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