SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Smith County is now under a burn ban along with several East Texas counties as the intense sun keeps beating down on us.
Officials announced the burn ban in a meeting Tuesday morning because conditions aren’t getting any better. The lack of rain and triple digit heat is making the situation worse.
Farm owners like Marshal Wiggins with the Tyler Berry Farm are feeling the effects of the intense heat.
“We got a drizzle, just enough to knock the dust down, but not much rain whatsoever. We haven’t had a good half an inch in over a month,” he said.
It’s a main reason why Smith County is now added to the long list of active burn bans in our region.
“Unfortunately, as a county as a whole, it is still continuing to get drier and so our KBDI now has now gotten to a level that is concerning,” said Smith County Fire Marshal, Jay Brooks.
He also said KBDI is a drought index used to measure the amount of moisture in the soil.
“On average we’re at 650 so that means that out of 8 inches, we have about an inch and a half of moisture on average within Smith County available to our vegetation,” added Brooks.
The lack of moisture is making it harder for Tyler berry farm’s blueberries to grow bigger.
“The heat saps all the water out of them, so it’s just constant irrigation but still it’s just getting the moisture sucked out of the plants constantly,” said Wiggins.
Brooks said the county held off on a burn ban as long as possible, but the heat was not letting up.
“We’re gonna have hundred degree highs everyday for the next 10 days with no rain in sight. This was just the right thing,” added Brooks.
The ban prohibits outdoor burning including trash barrels, but you can still cook outside with caution.
“It needs to be in an enclosed vessel that has a top on it. If it’s an open cook range, we want to make sure that we’re not doing that. We do want to make sure it has something to contain those embers,” said Brooks.
Welding is allowed, but Brooks asks that you contact his office to let him know ahead of time.