Commissioners Monday approved a revised burn ban as presented by Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard.
This ban will last another 90 days, until June 11, but the county will use the National Weather Service’s red flag day system to determine fire risk. The NWS will decide whether the fire risk for the day is extreme, elevated, critical or red flag.
Beard said there will likely be burn days during the ban, but anyone who wishes to burn outdoors must call the Sheriff’s Office at 940-627-5971 to receive permission and ensure the NWS has lifted the burn ban for that day.
A violation of the court order prohibiting outdoor burning is a class C misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The county put in a ban in mid-January at the request of Beard.
“Since Dec. 10, county fire departments have run 134 grass fires, and 80 percent were started by outdoor burning,” Beard said in January. “That’s a pretty big number in my business.”
For the year, Decatur Airport has received only 1.32 inches of rain – 4.59 inches below normal. Bridgeport Airport has received 3.02 inches – 2.32 inches below normal.
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index monitor, which measures amount of ground moisture on a range from 0 (fully saturated) to 800 (complete moisture depletion), shows an average of 292 in the county. The best portions are at 125 and worst at 422.