Area weathermen aren’t digging out their umbrellas for this week, but they are telling people they might want to tie down those small lawn ornaments.
The unpredictable Texas weather is serving up some high winds and low humidity and that is a pattern good for just one thing — grass fires.
The National Weather Service said an elevated fire danger exists from Monday through Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s wind gusts were expected to get as high as 25 mph with a low relative humidity.
Even though Grayson County does not have a burn ban, those weather conditions are not conducive to safe burning. Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said worrying about the status of a burn ban when considering burning is kind of getting the horse before the cart anyway.
“First thing is this: folks are focusing on the wrong thing, ” Somers said. “The question isn’t really ‘Is there a burn ban?” First thing we all need to remember is: Texas law prohibits outdoor burning anywhere in Texas all the time. But then our law goes on to provide exceptions to the prohibition for ‘specific situations in which burning is necessary or does not pose a threat to the environment.’
She said the law always states the conditions that must be met before any burning is allowed.
“What, where, when, why and how of outdoor burning are all set out in the law,” Somers said.
Of course, people burning isn’t the only way grass fires get started. People doing things like throwing out lit cigarettes can also lead to fires that claim structures as well as grasslands. Being careful during these windy days not only saves resources, it could save lives. Every fire puts firefighters at risk.
Cooke County added a burn ban to its area Monday, but Grayson County Commissioners are not set to consider one at their meeting on Tuesday. County officials do have the option of calling an emergency meeting to discuss the matter at any time.
A free document with additional information from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is available at www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/rg/rg-049.pdf.