Trash fire burns out of control

Volunteer firefighters from Victoria County extinguish hot spots after a grass fire was brought under control on McCormick Drive in August 2019.

Victoria County officials are expected to pass a burn ban on Monday.

Several grass fires in recent days and a consistent high rating on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a measure for calculating an area’s potential for wildfire, led County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo to recommend implementation of a burn ban for the county.

“As of (July 15), the minimum and maximum indices are 452 and 641, respectively, with an average index of 541,” Castillo wrote in a memo to Victoria County commissioners. “The Texas Forest Service recommends that communities exceeding the 500 index consider going into a burn ban.”

If approved by Victoria County commissioners Monday, the ban would allow only household trash burning, Castillo wrote. Any other burning would be subject to a fine.

Also on Monday, the commissioners could appoint Justin Marr, who won the Republican nomination for Victoria County sheriff in the July 14 runoff election, as the interim sheriff for the remainder of the year.

Marr, a career Victoria County Sheriff’s Office employee with two decades of experience, beat challenger Dale Fowler with an almost 2-1 margin in the runoff election.

If Marr is appointed as interim sheriff, he will replace Chief Deputy Roy Boyd who has served as interim leader of the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office since former Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor resigned from the office to accept a nomination from President Donald Trump as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Texas.

A swearing-in ceremony that would officially make Marr interim sheriff could occur during Monday’s court meeting or later that day.

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, or on Twitter

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