County enacts burn ban
A burn ban is now in effect for Matagorda County, according to an announcement made Monday, Aug. 12 by Amanda Campos, Matagorda County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Matagorda County automatically triggers the burn ban when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index reaches 500, the same index that many other counties across Texas use.
Rainfall in the county has been minimal as of late and drought conditions exist at this time.
The current version of the Outdoor Burning Rule is the result of a concerted effort to produce a streamlined, unambiguous rule that can be applied consistently and fairly throughout Texas. Its purpose is to protect the environment, promote public health and safety, and avoid nuisance conditions through the sensible regulation of outdoor burning.
Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald said the Keetch-Byram Drought Index has been used for years by the county but added there are other factors that might be used by commissioner’s court in adopting an outdoor burn ban, such as citizen input, VFD concerns or law enforcement requests.
Once a commissioner or the county judge determines the need for a burn ban, that request is placed on the commissioner’s court agenda for adoption. The court at its regular or special meeting considers the agenda item, and either adopts a burn ban or tables it for future consideration.
When the burn ban is adopted, it can remain in place as long as 90 days before the court must reconsider it, or remove it.
According to the TDCQ, the Outdoor Burning Rule first prohibits outdoor burning anywhere in Texas, and then allows exceptions for specific situations in which burning is necessary or does not pose a threat to the environment. The rule also prescribes conditions that must be met to protect the environment and avoid other adverse impacts when burning is allowed. If burning seems necessary, but the situation does not fit an exception stated in the rule, then it is possible to request from the TCEQ a special authorization to conduct burning.