Hays County Fire Marshal Nathan Mendenhall recommended to Hays County Commissioners Court to keep the existing burn ban in place for the immediate future.
Mendenhall said the current average Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Hays County is at 499, the high in the county is 586 and elevated fire weather conditions are possible across much of the area later this week due to low humidity.
“Based on current and forecasted conditions, I recommend that the burn ban remain in place,” he said.
He added that the sale of fireworks will be allowed as Hays County did not reach statutory levels for KBDI to restrict certain fireworks.
“This means that all fireworks that are normally allowed to be sold will be sold,” he said. “This does not mean that there is no danger.”
He said rockets and mortars will still have the potential to start spot fires as hot debris falls into light ground fuels that are exacerbated by underlying drought conditions in our area.
“The burn ban does not affect the sale and use of fireworks,” Mendenhall said, “so we must all remain alert between now and January 1 as the potential for spot fires remains a concern.”
Another concern related to fireworks is improper disposal. The fire marshal recently told a group of local safety personnel that each year firefighters see house fires that start when expended but still hot fireworks are put into a can or bin, often in a garage, but not covered with dirt or water.
“They smolder and gain traction by catching the other items in the bin on fire,” Mendenhall said.
He said it’s important to keep any bin containing spent fireworks outside and away from buildings, adding that vigilance and common-sense regarding fireworks use and proper disposal will go a long way toward ensuring no one experiences the devastation of a fire.
“Use extra caution, be prepared and have a plan,” Mendenhall said. “Simple steps can save lives and property.”
# # #