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Burn ban lifted after rain

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The county-wide burn ban in place since late July was lifted last week, a few days before it was scheduled to either expire or be extended.

The burn ban, first ordered on July 24, was originally set to expire on September 14 at that morning’s regular meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court. On August 24, the court had voted to extend the burn ban until that time, unless conditions allowed for it to be rescinded early based on the advice of fire chiefs and the Office of Emergency Management.

While delivering an update at the regular commissioners’ court meeting on Monday, county emergency deputy director Christine Files said the burn ba n was lifted after several days of rain and consultation with local fire chiefs. Some areas of the county received more rain than others, she added, but all parts of the county saw at least some rain.

On Monday, the county’s average Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a measure of drought conditions, was 542. An average KBDI of 600 across the county is generally the point at which Bastrop County issues a burn ban. The Texas A&M Texas Weather Connection reported the observed fire danger in Bastrop County is very low and the forecast fire danger is moderate.

“We’re going to keep an eye on that and make sure we stay within all of the parameters to allow folks to continue burning,” Files said.

Files also noted that there were two storm systems in the Gulf of Mexico at the time, but neither are heading towards Texas.

In their Facebook post announcing the rescinding order, the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management reminds everyone to burn responsibly, clear the area around a fire and that it is illegal to leave fires unattended or burn after dark. They also advise to not burn on windy days, when conditions are dry or when the humidity is low.