Dry conditions lead to burn ban in Smith County

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During summer months in Texas, there’s usually a lack of rain and drought-like conditions. Thanks to the current weather conditions, outdoor burning is not allowed in Smith County, as the county is now officially under a burn ban.

On Friday, Aug. 3, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran issued a burn ban due to rapidly increasing wildfire conditions.

Moran issued the “Order Prohibiting Outdoor Burning” after receiving the recommendation from the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office and Office of Emergency Management.

Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson said fire departments battled six fires burning about 35 acres in Smith County between Wednesday and Friday of last week.

On Thursday, the humidity dropped dangerously low and winds picked up, increasing the risk of wildfires. She said they are expecting the conditions to worsen over the weekend.

Moran’s order prohibits all outdoor burning for 90 days, unless the restrictions are terminated earlier. The Smith County Commissioners Court will consider ratifying Moran’s order issuing a burn ban at its regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7.

On Friday morning, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Smith County was 667. Used to determine forest fire potential, the KBDI ranges from 0 to 800. In the past, Smith County has issued a burn ban when the drought index falls around 700.

“The current hot, dry weather poses a serious threat of wildfires throughout Smith County, making it necessary to issue a burn ban until further notice,” Moran said.

He cautioned all Smith County residents to consider the seriousness of the burn ban.

Anyone needing more information about available assistance, or anyone with questions related to the burn ban, call the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office at (903) 590-2655.

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