Grayson County Commissioners discontinued the burn ban Tuesday as a gentle rain continued to fall outside the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman.
“We have certainly been blessed,” Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said to commissioners when discussing the amount of rain the area received this past weekend.
She said this week’s drought index numbers were much better than those the court had to consider last week. Generally, the county considers burn ban-related questions when the KBDI is 650 or above. The KBDI is an index based on temperature estimates and precipitation gathered from weather stations and analyzed by experts at the Texas Forest Service.
“Our average is 432, which is down from an average of 694 last week,” Somers said. “It dropped a full 262 points.”
Grayson County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire said he got over four inches in his rain gauge over the weekend.
“The dogs were out swimming in the cracks in my yard,” he joked.
Meteorologist Jamie Gudmestad, from the Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service, said the Grayson County area received 4.78 inches of rain from Aug. 8 through Tuesday morning. She said there is still a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast Thursday and any additional rain that falls could prove problematic because the ground is already saturated.
Gudmestad said she couldn’t comment on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recently released winter outlook for 2018-2019 that says area residents might want to get used to the precipitation. In fact, NOAA predicts an above normal amount of rain for the North Texas and Southern Oklahoma area from October through much of the winter.
Though commissioners terminated the burn ban at the meeting, that does not mean people can just burn whatever they want, whenever they want.
“There are state laws, rules and regulations governing outdoor burning. Failure to follow them can be a criminal offense and can result in civil liability,” the county’s Office of Emergency Management Office says on its webpage. “It is your responsibility to understand the law before you burn and know that if anyone gets hurt or property is damaged by your actions, you can be held responsible.”
Somers urges people to to look up information about what can and can’t be burned on the county website at http://www.co.grayson.tx.us/upload/page/0271/docs/Outdoor_Burning_in_Texas.pdf.