Wichita County Burn Ban Lifted

Local News
Recent rains have made Wichita County officials feel its enough to lift a countywide ban on outdoor burning.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom says some rural residents will be able to safely get rid of unwanted brush or trash.

However, he wants to warn residents who plan to take advantage of controlled burns that the threat is still there.

It’s hard to forget images like these of raging wildfires sweeping across Texoma.

Conditions have improved and many dry landscapes are now a sea of green.

On Monday, commissioners unanimously voted in favor of lifting the disaster declaration and countywide burn ban but urge to be careful.

“There’s never a time it’s safe if you aren’t paying attention and if you don’t have the proper equipment with you to take care of that initial fire that creeps out of where you had planned for it to burn,” Gossom says.

Gossom says folks need to take the necessary precautions if they plan to have a controlled burn.

He says, “They should not do this without having adequate water to at least do the first hand suppression if that fire starts to get away.”

He says that includes notifying local authorities and first responders.

If not, Wichita County Sheriff David Duke says residents could face a fine.

“If there’s someone going to be burning something they have to stay with it the whole time,” Duke says. “You can’t go inside the house and go watch TV and expect it to burn down. You have to be out there with it. If a deputy rolls up out there and there’s no one present, the fire department will have to come out and put that fire out and the person will be cited.”

Gossom says these favorable conditions won’t last long.

Gossom says, “All this nice green stuff now is going to become fuel for fires.”

He says commissioners will consider reinstating a burn ban in late June or early July when dry conditions are expected to get worse.

Also, Gossom says county residents will have to follow Texas Commission on Environmental Quality outdoor burning guidelines that are always in effect.

Wichita County now joins Montague, Clay, Jack, Young, Archer, Throckmorton, Wilbarger, Foard and Knox counties that have lifted their ban on outdoor burning.

There are two Texoma counties with burn ban restrictions.

There’s a restricted burn ban in Baylor County.

Residents must call dispatch before and after the controlled burn.

There must be one person there at all times with ample water and equipment to extinguish the fire and winds must be below 10 miles per hour.

In Hardeman County, there is a burn restriction in place.

Residents must notify local firefighters to see if it’s ok to burn.

They must also alert the sheriff’s office and neighbors so they’re aware in case they see smoke.

For TCEQ outdoor burning guidelines, click here.

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