Burn ban approved to help control fires

August 17, 2013

The Commissioners Court put a burn ban in place Tuesday.

Fire Marshal Ray Wilson said that although Hood County has avoided any major fires recently, the step was necessary to keep it that way.

“We’re trying to eliminate potential fire problems,” he said.

Wilson cited a fire last weekend in Benbrook that burned 150 acres and threatened apartments as well as a Walmart.

“We’re experiencing small grass fires because of controlled burns,” Wilson said. “The fire departments have been doing an outstanding job to get there quickly. But the burn ban will reduce or eliminate some of those problems so we won’t have a major fire.”

Officials use the Keetch-Byrum Drought Index (KBDI) to measure the severity of drought conditions. The KBDI uses a mathematical system that determines forest fire potential, based in part on soil moisture levels.

Wilson said that when the index number climbs to 575, that’s usually the guideline mark that triggers the banning of fireworks.

“Yesterday, the county average was 549,” Wilson said Monday. “The last five days, the index has gone up six to 10 points.” Wilson said the Texas Forest Service predicts that our drought index could reach 644.

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