Denton County has declared an outdoor burn ban following weeks of dry weather and higher than normal temperatures.
The Denton County Commissioners Court approved the burn ban Sept. 24. The ban will remain in effect until the commissioners court removes it, Community Relations Director Dawn Cobb said.
Collin County also recently implemented a burn ban for its unincorporated areas.
The ban prohibits burning combustible materials, such as wood, lumber, leaves, brush and materials used in welding. Anyone conducting indoor or outdoor welding will need to follow special regulations to prevent fires, according to the ban.
Violating the burn ban is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
The ban does not prohibit the use of fully enclosed outdoor cooking appliances, such as grills and smokers. Enclosed outdoor fireplaces with spark arrestor caps may also be used.
"That'll be the difficulty for most is [that] we'll have to hold off on having fall campfires for a while until we get past this," said Jody Gonzalez, emergency services chief for Denton County.
The county used the Keetch-Byram Drought Index to determine its drought conditions. An index of 0 means the soil is saturated, and a burn ban is recommended when the index reaches 575; Denton County's index is 619, Gonzalez said.
The county's emergency services division will look at the KBDI index, as well as rainfall and vegetation conditions, to determine if and when it is safe to end the ban.