Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Dry conditions lead to limits on activities

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 4, 2013 at 2:04 a.m.

The Texas heat is here and there's no question, we're in for another scorching summer. In addition to the heat, this year's below average rainfall has resulted in a burn ban for Victoria and several other surrounding counties.

The Victoria County burn ban began Monday and will last for 90 days, unless it is revoked sooner. As we've seen in previous years and disasters, burn bans are not gentle suggestions that residents can ignore. These are serious regulations that help ensure a safe environment for everyone in our community and the surrounding areas. Under the Victoria County burn ban, residents may not have any open fires. County residents may burn trash inside a metal barrel covered by a screen with holes no larger than 5/8 inch, according to the Victoria County Fire Marshal's website. Residents who choose to burn should clear the area around the barrel down to dirt or gravel and always supervise their burn. Keep a way to control the fire handy and make sure it is enough to deal with any unexpected flare-ups or problems. Residents who do not have barrels can find a list of four welding companies that provide the materials needed or make the barrels on the fire marshal's website.

Burn bans aren't the only restrictions residents are facing now. Residents of the city of Victoria are also under Stage II drought plan water restrictions. These restrictions include rules on when residents can water their lawns, wash cars and fill swimming pools and limits fire hydrant use to emergencies. Stage II restrictions will remain in place until the Guadalupe river reaches above its "trigger level," or 300 cubic-feet-per-second in the month of July, for 14 consecutive days, according to Public Works Director Lynn Short.

We encourage residents to practice caution and observe each of these restrictions. Not only will taking precautions with fire and conserving water help our communities, but residents will also be fined for breaking these rules as well. Violation of either the burn ban or Stage II water restrictions is punishable by a fine of $500. We're sure residents have much better uses for their money than paying fines after being careless with fire or water usage.

Most of all, we encourage our readers to stay safe during the dry, hot days ahead. Summer is a fun time full of holidays and vacation, but we must always be careful. With a little effort and respect, we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to have a safe, enjoyable summer.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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