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Record rain allows county to lift burn ban

By Melissa Crowe
Sept. 17, 2012 at 4:17 a.m.


More action

• Adopted the county tax rate and budget

• Approved a five-year tax abatement agreement with Hlavinka Equipment Co.

•  Canceled the sheriff's office agreement with Odyssey Law Enforcement/Jail Management Software Maintenance and Support

• Approved $77,050 increase to the unallocated and contingent budget line, $66,000 increase to furniture and equipment for a new phone system, and $50,050 for pagers at the volunteer fire departments. The budget transfers came from a $200,000 increase to the sales tax revenue line.

CAN YOU BURN?

To avoid a $600 fine for illegal burning, Fire Marshal Ron Pray recommends calling the county or visiting vctx.org to check on the status of a burn ban.

• Fire Marshal: 361-579-9103

• Sheriff's Office: 361-574-8040

• Police Department: 361-573-3221

Record-breaking rainfall during the weekend brought enough moisture to Victoria County to lift a week-old burn ban.

Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi removed the ban Monday during the commissioners court meeting.

Last week, when the judge instated it, the county was in dire need of moisture. However, the National Weather Service reported 3.46 inches of rainfall since Thursday, including Friday's record-breaker.

Thursday totaled 1.43 inches at Victoria Regional Airport; Friday saw 1.68 inches, breaking the 1.54-inch record set in 2008; Saturday saw .03 inches and Sunday had .32 inches.

County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said he was hopeful the rainfall put the county in a situation where it could hold off the burn ban for a while longer.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Beal said no rain is in the forecast for the next week.

Despite the weekend's rain, "the county could probably use some more," he said.

Tuesday will have a high of 87 degrees, warming up gradually to a high of 88 Wednesday, and a high of 89 Thursday.

"We'll have some really nice weather, but we won't see any rain," Beal said.

When the ban was put in place Sept. 10, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index was "well over 600," Pray said. By Monday morning, it dropped to 438.

"For where we were at - my recommendation was to go ahead and put it (the ban) in place even though we were expecting to get rain," Pray said. "Hopefully we'll get some more rain with these fronts that come through."

The index, which specifically measures the potential for fires, ranges from 0 to 800.

Pray said there were no fire instances during the weekend, and no one was ticketed for illegal burning, a crime that comes with a $600 fine.

"We don't like to put in the burn ban, but unfortunately, it's a necessary evil," he said.

Pozzi has often said that he dislikes the ban.

He said the commissioners court will ratify his decision next Monday.

"We're very pleased to lift the ban," Pozzi said.

Pray said the county will be in good shape if these conditions continue.

"If things dry out and we start getting warm temperatures with low humidity, we'll have to go back to a burn ban situation," Pray said. "I'm hoping for the best."

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