Burn ban expires in Hays County

The emergency order banning outdoor burning in Hays County expired July 12, and county officials said the ban will not be immediately reinstated.

County Judge Dr. Bert Cobb had signed the order July 5 after meeting with Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Chambers.

"We enacted the emergency burn ban July 5 because of the increasing dryness experienced by most of the county," Cobb said in a statement from the county. "Recent rains have resulted in improved conditions that allow for responsible outdoor burning. Commissioners Court will have an opportunity to review the need for a burn ban at its regular meeting on Tuesday."

Commissioners could vote to extend the ban for up to 90 days at their next meeting, which is July 17. Counties use the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, the measure of an area's fire potential, to determine whether to enact or maintain a burn ban.

The index number is created in part by measuring the amount of moisture in the soil; the scale ranges from 0 to 800, with 800 being "absolutely dry conditions."

In 2011, Hays County remained under a burn ban for 316 days. Information about outdoor burning, the drought index and fire safety is available on the county's website, www.co.hays.tx.us.



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