The county burn ban will continue through at least November 23 due to continued dry conditions.
During their regular meeting on October 26, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court discussed the possibility of enacting a burn ban. However, since some rain was expected that week, the court agreed to table the burn ban at that time and issue an emergency order later in the week if needed.
As conditions worsened, however, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape signed a disaster declaration and an emergency burn ban order on Thursday, October 29. The emergency order was valid for a week; last Thursday, November 5, the commissioners’ held a special meeting for the court to vote on extending the burn ban.
During the November 5 special meeting, county emergency deputy director Christine Files told the court that Bastrop County did not get much rain since the October 26 meeting. Over that time, the Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI)—a measure of drought conditions—and the fire danger index had increased, she said.
Last Thursday, the average KBDI in Bastrop County was 638, with a low of 538 and a high of 691, according to the Texas A&M University's Texas Weather Connection, with a fire danger rating of moderate. By Monday, the average KBDI was 647, with a low of 552 and a high of 695.
Often, Bastrop County will activate a burn ban if the KBDI is over 600.
Files said the county put the emergency burn ban order in place after consultation with the local fire chiefs and the Texas Forest Service.
She added that very dry conditions will likely continue through the rest of the year.
Pape said the court could take the burn ban issue one month at a time and lift the burn ban as soon as conditions allow. The court voted to extend the burn ban until the November 23 regular meeting.
A person violates the burn ban order if they cause the ignition of any combustible or vegetative material outside of an enclosure that contains all flames and sparks. Violating the burn ban order is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500. For more details about enforcement and exceptions to the burn ban, visit www.co.bastrop.tx.us/page/em.home.