Ban on outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of Travis County.
The Travis County Commissioners Court voted this morning to continue the ban on outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of the County. The previous burn ban was scheduled to expire tomorrow. Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee recommended the new burn ban, saying that the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that the majority of Travis County is in moderate drought with portions of western Travis County in severe drought.
Lee explained that the County’s soil continues to dry. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) measures moisture in the top eight inches of the soil and ranges from 0, indicating the wettest conditions, to 800, for the driest conditions. Lee said, “When the previous burn ban was put in place in late January, the County was at 409 on the KBDI, but now, we are currently at 463. Small fuels, including vegetation, are very dry, and the larger fuels will continue to dry without significant rainfall totals.”
Lee urges the public to pay particular attention to red flag warnings, which are issued by the National Weather Service and indicate periods of high winds, low humidity and high-fire danger. “During red flag warning periods, like we experienced yesterday, everyone should avoid starting a fire,” said Lee.
This ban on outdoor burning does not affect a prescribed burn under the supervision of a prescription burn manager. It also does not affect outdoor hot work when done under the guidelines established by the Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office. Prescription burn managers and those in need of outdoor hot work permits must contact the Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office or the fire department in whose jurisdiction the work will be done.
Barbecuing in Travis County Parks and Parks managed by the County is allowed as long as the fire is within a closeable container or a container with a lid. You should also have water nearby in case the fire spreads. Call 911 immediately if a fire gets out of control.
If you have questions about the burn ban, please call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 512-854-4621, or contact your local fire department.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701