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Friday, January 21, 2011

Burn bans keep falling on my head...

... no wait, that's raindrops ... oh, burn ban too, huh?  It was kinda funny actually, watching the firetruck get stuck in the mud on the way across my property to the burning brush pile.  Not enough time has passed for me to laugh about it yet though.

  One might think that great "brush-pile-burning" conditions exist when: the winds are calm, the ground is saturated with moisture, and a light persistent drizzle is forecast for the rest of the weekend.  Apparently the county commissioners of Williamson county don't agree.  They meet once a week to extend the burn ban for as much as 60 days into the future.  The decision for a burn ban, or the lifting thereof, is made as if conditions are ever either completely safe, or completely not safe throughout the county to have a fire.  That is rarely true to begin with.   Now, if someone is going to take on the responsibility of declaring county wide "safe fire windows", their decision times should at least be dictated by changing weather conditions, not by some arbitrary schedule.

  Kudos to the Bell county commissioners.  They responded to the weather and lifted their burn ban over that same rainy weekend.  It is especially important to allow property owners, who most likely work all week, to get their brush piles taken care of on weekends that are particularly safe for open fires, i.e. rainy weekends.  They won't have huge piles built up later in the year, and won't have to burn them in perhaps less ideal conditions when the burn ban just happens to be lifted.

   The most important take away here is that no one should assume that it IS safe to have a fire whenever the burn bans are NOT in effect.  The people making these decisions do not meet often enough to adjust for the rapidly changing weather conditions in Texas.  As a land owner, you are always the one responsible if your fire damages someone else's property.  So, pick a safe day for your circumstances, and then call your local fire dept. to make sure there is no burn ban in effect.


  1. What you said makes sense. Now if you could convince the people you vote into office.

  2. So, as an update, the county commissioners must have gotten a lot of complaints because the ban was lifted by the next weekend. Sure enough, that weekend wasn't nearly as safe because there was a lot more wind and the dead winter grass and underbrush was dry.