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Total burn ban may come to Victoria County

By Brian Cuaron
Aug. 8, 2011 at 3:08 a.m.


BURN BARREL TIPS

Use a 55-gallon drum with a screen on top. The screen must cover the entire top of the barrel and have holes no bigger than 5/8

Sit the drum on mineral soil.

Clear a 10-foot circumference around the barrel, including grass.

Keep the fire away from buildings and other people's property.

Have a nearby means to extinguish the fire.

Watch the fire until it is put out.

Fire in rural Victoria County have some contemplating a total burn ban.

"It's likely we'll ban burning altogether. So that's coming," Judge Don Pozzi said at the commissioners court meeting Monday.

That would force rural residents to haul their household trash to the landfill and pay to have it disposed of. Homeowners are now allowed to burn the trash in a barrel with a cover under the current burn ban.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index was listed at 753 for Monday.

Pozzi added that fewer fires caused by the burning of trash would decrease the likelihood of a total ban. He said some fires from the past week were preventable.

Fire Marshal Ron Pray said after the meeting that several fires were started over the weekend from the burning of trash.

Those burning trash are required to watch it while it's lit. However, Pray said the county has found people not watching or without the required screens over their burn barrels.

Pray said Victoria County has done a total burn ban before.

"If the fires continue, then we're going to end up having to talk to the commissioners court and recommend a total ban," Pray said.

In a budget workshop on Monday, the commissioners court authorized juvenile services to raise its pay rate for off-duty transport officers working overtime.

Juvenile services has a shortage of officers needed to transport juveniles, Pozzi said after the meeting.

The department was down to one full-time officer and a part-time officer. It recently lost two other part-time officers who provided transport services.

The part-time officers were paid $18.42 an hour comparable rate. Now, juvenile services would be allowed to pay off-duty officers $25 an hour when they provide transportation services.

Another option provided by Pama Hencerling, chief juvenile probation officer, was to hire another full-time officer.

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