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Victoria County Commissioners enact burn ban

By Melissa Crowe
May 5, 2014 at 12:05 a.m.


THE RULES

• Household trash burning in a barrel will be allowed as long as there is a screen on top with holes no larger than 5/8 inches.

• The area around the barrel should be cleared down to the soil or gravel.

• All burning must be supervised and have readily available a means to control the fire.

• Contact Victoria County Fire Marshal's Office for any questions regarding the burn ban.

SOURCE: VICTORIA COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL

Victoria County's hot and arid climate sparked the commissioners court to enact a countywide burn ban Monday.

Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said the drought has caused the county's conditions to deteriorate rapidly.

"We had several fires this weekend that got out of hand and endangered homes and properties," Pray said. "My recommendation is to go into the burn ban until we get some significant rain and reduce our danger."

The county's fire danger is rated at 581 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, some parts of the county are rated as high as 663.

To the west, Goliad County's average is 611.

Even the smallest source can start a fire right now, Pray said.

Throughout the weekend, firefighters responded to about five calls a day, he said.

From putting out fires started by throwing cigarettes out car windows or hot oil from a train engine at the Port of Victoria, "Our conditions have gone from moderate fire danger within the last two weeks to extreme," Pray said. "From what the weather people have told me, we're in for a long, hot summer."

Pray said motorists who are smoking need to be aware of the dry conditions.

Tossing cigarette butts can not only cause a fire, but littering is also a class C misdemeanor. A person could be charged with arson if the thrown cigarette causes a fire.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the ban takes effect immediately.

Violation of the countywide burn ban is a class C misdemeanor and could result in a fine of $500, plus a $100 fee for court costs.

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