Every Texoma county is under a burn ban

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - As dry conditions continue across our region, fire officials continue to urge folks to avoid burning of any kind. In fact, every county in the News 12 viewing area is under a burn ban.

Under a burn ban, all outdoor burning is banned with few exceptions like outdoor cooking and hot work like welding, as long as the equipment is away from anything combustible and a constant water supply is immediately available, along with other restrictions.

Should you start a fire under a burn ban, it’s a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500, and they’ve already written several citations this year. But officials said there are ways fires can start you may not even realize.

It doesn’t take much to spark a dangerous fire.

“We’ve had still several people doing burns illegally that have caused fires getting out of control,” said John Weda, Grayson County Fire Marshal.

From low hanging chains on trailers, cigarette butts tossed out of cars and even tire blow outs. For Weda, this has been a busy fire season.

“We had one not long ago where a triple axel trailer broke two axels and one axel went to one side of the road the other went to the opposite side. We had fires on each side of the road took of from the axels getting over there,” said Weda.

Grass can ignite at 500 degrees and in these conditions a fire can spread almost as fast as it starts. On the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, Grayson County was rated Monday at 735 out of the maximum of 800.

“We’ve had people out using their mower or their push mower or riding mower or brush hogging or whatever. If they hit a piece of metal under the grass or a rock it can cause a spark and then they got their grass on fire. That’s already happened several times. It happens a lot with farmers out cutting their fields and stuff,” said Weda.

Accidents happen, but most fires are preventable with caution and avoiding items like parachute lanterns.

“They’ve been banned in 29 states, they’re not banned in Texas. It’s not good practice and obviously we’re under a burn ban so it would be illegal to use one of those today. But it’s just not good in general to use one of those. You don’t know where they’re gonna come down,” said Weda.

As fires spread fast, fire crews, often staffed by volunteers, are spread thin.

“There’s not many paid departments, Denison, Sherman, NTRA the airport they’re paid, and then part of Van Alstyne. But a lot of these people in Grayson County, 85 percent of the firefighters you see are volunteer,” said Weda.

You can show support to your local fire department by dropping off donations of snacks, water or Gatorade, or cash for them to pick up those necessities. But the best way to show support, be extra cautious in these dry conditions so you don’t have to make a call to 911.

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