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Victoria, Lavaca counties enact burn ban

By BY BRIAN M. CUARON
April 25, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 24, 2011 at 11:25 p.m.

Victoria and Lavaca county residents better not open fires anytime soon. Both counties enacted burn bans Monday.

The Victoria ban allows for household garbage to be burned outside city limits in a 55-gallon drum with a screen on top. The screen must have holes no bigger than 5/8 of an inch, and the fire must be watched till it is put out.

Should those burning garbage be found violating the burn ban, they could be slapped with a $600 fine. Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said he and others will not be lenient in citing violators because this is a public safety issue.

"We're not out trying to write tickets to make money. We're trying to enforce the law," Pray said.

Pray recommended the burn ban to the commissioners court because of drought conditions.

At last week's commissioners court meeting, County Judge Don Pozzi said the court could institute a burn ban if the Keetch-Byram Drought Index got near or above 600. Pray said the index was 604 for Victoria County on Monday.

The last burn ban occurred in 2009. Pray said that significant rainfall is needed and that no rain is projected in the next two weeks.

According to the Texas Forest Service, 211 of the state's 254 counties have enacted burn bans.

"We're not as dry as West Texas, but we're getting there very quickly," Pray said, referencing the large fires in that region.

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