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Grassfire put out near petroleum company

By BY CAMILLE DOTY
April 22, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2011 at 11:22 p.m.

Rasin Volunteer Firefighter Patricia Johnson hoses down a grass fire off of Farm-to-Market 446 on Friday evening.

FIRE MARSHAL TIPS ON BURNING

Never leave a fire unattended.

Have a bucket of water and extinguisher near the fire.

Extinguish fire with a hose when finished.

Check www.webgis.tamu.edu for the drought index.

A grass fire occurred in the 3400 block of Farm-to-Market Road 446 around 5 p.m. Friday. County Fire Marshall Ron Pray said he believes the people left the premises, and someone passing by called it in to the authorities.

The fire took place near a petroleum company.

Pray said the fire could have been restarted because of the brush and 25-30 mph winds.

Several fire departments, including Quail Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the Rasin Volunteer Fire Department, had to do a "mop-up" to ensure the fire would not re-ignite.

"People need to be careful," Pray said.

Pray added that he will recommend a burn ban 10 a.m. Monday to the Victoria County Commissioners Court. If the ban takes effect, people will only be able to burn in a 50-gallon container.

The fire marshal actively tracks the Keetch-Byram Drought Index. The KBDI is an index used to determining forest fire potential. The drought index is based on a daily water balance, where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture, and is expressed in hundredths of an inch of soil moisture depletion, according to the Texas Weather Commission. The range is from 0, no moisture completion to 800, extremely dry conditions.

"The problem is we're drying out," he said. "Victoria is at a 593 KBDI when it averages between 200 and 400 this time of year."

In the meantime, Pray advises people to not leave fires unattended and to have equipment to extinguish the fire available at the site.

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