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Burn ban lifted after recent rain

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As a result of the recent storm, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to rescind the county-wide burn ban during Monday’s regular meeting.

The burn ban was enacted on August 6 this year, approved at the following commissioners court meeting, and extended throughout September and most of October.

County Judge Paul Pape recommended the burn ban be lifted; as a result of storms on Thursday night, he said some parts of the county received up to four and a half inches of rain, with the entire county seeing at least two inches. According to data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, stations across Bastrop County showed precipitation measurements ranging from 1.31 inches in south-southwest McDade to 3.82 inches in north Bastrop by Friday morning.

Pape also said the county’s Keetch-Byram Draught Index (KBDI), a numerical scale measuring draught conditions such as rainfall and temperature, is now just under 500. According to the U.S. Forest Service, a KBDI number between 600 and 800 is associated with extreme drought and increased wildfire occurrence. During the court’s last meeting on October 15, when the burn ban was extended for another 13 days, Pape said the county’s rule of thumb is to issue and maintain a burn ban for measures over 600.

Finally, Pape said one fire chief had asked for the burn ban to be rescinded so that local farmers and ranchers can burn what they need to burn without the fire department responding “every time a column of smoke goes up.”