(UPDATE) – The Smith County Commissioners court unanimously voted to enact a 90 day burn ban on July 5, after Fire Marshal Jay Brooks made his recommendation at Tuesday’s meeting.

Brooks said that despite rainfall over the weekend in southern parts of the county, conditions have continued to deteriorate creating the need for a burn ban

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – In an update to the Commissioners Court, Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks asked the issue of enacting a county-wide burn ban be put on next week’s agenda.

Brooks said that although they are seeing an uptick in grassfires, he recommends waiting to enact a burn ban for the county.

“Drought conditions are deteriorating,” Brooks said.

As of Tuesday, the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index (KBDI) for Smith County is at a 616 average. The KDBI is used to determine forest fire risk and ranges from 0 to 800, and officials said that Smith County has in the past issued a burn ban when the index falls around 700.

On the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioner’s court was asked to “only if necessary, consider and take action to issue an order prohibiting outdoor burning for Smith County.”

Smith County officials urged citizens to be responsible when using fireworks, more so due to dry and hot conditions, and issued the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks