Although there is currently no burn ban in effect for Grayson County, dangerous fires can still arise because of dry conditions. Local residents should take precautions when burning brush or trash to keep the fires under control.

By Ann Smajstrla


Herald Democrat


Although there is currently no burn ban in effect for Grayson County, dangerous fires can still arise because of dry conditions. Local residents should take precautions when burning brush or trash to keep the fires under control.


How to burn safely


Burning is not permitted within Sherman city limits except for cooking, said Sherman Fire Department Chief J.J. Jones. The same is true of Denison city limits and most other incorporated areas. Burning fires outside the city limits is permitted, provided there is no burn ban.


"Burning of any time should be controlled and attended at all times and put out before dark," Jones said.


When preparing to burn, Jones advises moving all combustibles away from the burn barrel or pile. You should also keep a hose or a bucket of water handy.


Only burn what you can control and put out quickly, Jones said. It is better to burn several small piles as opposed to one large one.


The No. 1 rule when burning a fire is to never leave it unattended, said Grayson County Fire Marshal Kevin Walton. Recently, most fires that the County has responded to have become out of control because they were left unattended, Walton said.


Do not start a fire if the wind or gusts are over 25 mph, Walton also advised.


Before burning something notify the County Fire Dispatch by calling 903-893-4388, then pressing 4, Jones said.


"Let the dispatcher know where you will be burning and what times. This will prevent a fire department response to a report of smoke," Jones said. "If the fire becomes too large for you to control, call 911 immediately. Get us started in your direction so we can assist in protecting other property and homes."


Denison Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Ray advises avoiding burning, if possible, because of the dry climate.


Preparing for dry weather


Should local conditions become more dry, there are preventative measures residents can take to lower the risk of brush fires.


First, home owners should keep grass cut short for 25 feet around their house. Anyone who owns pastures or a large amount of land should also keep the grass in those areas mowed. A fire that occurs in shorter grass is easier to control, Ray said.


Also important is to keep any hedges around a house watered.


Use special caution when participating in outdoor activities that may involve sparks or flames, as these could set nearby grass on fire, Ray said. Also keep in mind that a fire that begins on your property could spread to a neighboring property, and you may be held liable for damages that occur to the neighboring property.