LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — As dry summer conditions continue, a few more East Texas counties have joined the fire burn ban list. This comes just one day after the 4th of July weekend celebrations.
“We keep up with the resources that are required for that response, the resources that we have in reserve, and then that way we can make our decisions based on that stuff that we use around here,” said Mark Moore, Gregg County Fire Marshal.
The Gregg County Judge has enacted a burn ban to take effect starting on Tuesday. The Keetch-Byram Drought index is used to determine critical drought conditions and has jumped from about a 620 average to 700, which indicates that the ground has 7 inches of dry soil.
“If you’re pulling a trailer, make sure your chains are tied up where they’re not dragging on the pavement causing sparks, don’t discard cigarette butts out the window,” said Moore.
Both Gregg and Rusk counties waited to enact the ban to not prematurely inconvenience any businesses. With hot temperatures on the rise, fire danger can also spark in your home.
“Overloaded extension cords, you know things that people normally use in their households. But, I think the use of probable misappropriation of properly operating equipment,” said Moore.
Anyone who commits an offense of burning any combustible material outdoors could face a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500.
“Outdoor burning is not the only thing that causes some of our wildfires. We responded to a call last week to where a metal cutting instrument caused some sparks and started a fire,” said Terry Linder, Rusk County Fire Marshal.
For any hot work involving welding or cutting any kind of metal, fire officials recommend having a fire extinguisher or water source nearby.
“We also have responded to fires involving hay balers, so if you’re out working a field and baling hay you should also have a fire extinguisher and be cognizant if you start seeing signs of a fire,” said Linder.
Use prevention and not reaction, to protect your community from flames.
If you are interested in volunteering or would like to drop off cases of water for our first responders, please contact your nearest fire station.