County burn ban remains in effect

The Huntsville area is gearing up for what is expected to be another hot August week, with highs reaching the upper-90’s.

The conditions prompted Walker County officials to issue a burn ban starting at 3 p.m. Monday and lasting 90 days unless lifted before that by County Judge Danny Pierce

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on lands regulated by the county, along with residential yard waste and land clearing burns. The order does not prohibit outdoor burning related to public health and safety authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for firefighting training; public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; planting or harvesting of agricultural crops; or controlled burns.

The Sam Houston National Forest is also exempt from the burn ban.

The county’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index rating average as of Monday afternoon was 527. The KBDI is used to determine forest fire potential on a scale of zero to 800 with 800 representing absolute dry conditions.

The driest part of Walker County is 598, which is 36 points higher than it was when Walker County emergency management coordinator Butch Davis recommended the burn ban be implemented last week.

“It doesn’t look like there is any chance of significant rain,” Davis told the Walker County Commissioners Court. “We had numerous fire calls over the past weekend all over the county.”

A violation of the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable of a fine not to exceed $500.