Wichita County officials discuss burn bans and fire dangers

Local News

Wind gusts between 30 and 40 mph on Monday might not be helping when it comes to the fire danger.

While many counties in our area are under burn bans, Wichita County is still free from a ban.

County commissioners say the burn ban conversation was brought up to fire chiefs in the county last week and it was brought up again during Monday’s meeting. Though there is not a ban, county leaders are urging to stay cautious.

In Texas, there are 92 counties currently under a burn ban. Wilbarger, Baylor, Throckmorton, Clay and Montague are just some of the counties under a ban.

“We discussed whether or not that they would be in favor of going into a burn ban. Of all the chiefs only one reported it favorable of going into a burn ban at this point.” Commissioner Mark Beauchamp says they hold meetings with area fire chiefs each month and while Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department was in favor of enacting a burn ban, so far the county does not meet standards.

“We are below the index levels where the state forest service sets and shows that we should or should not enact a burn ban,” Beauchamp said.

“It’s just been pretty sporadic,” Emergency Management Coordinator Lee Bourgoin said. “When the winds pick up and you know it gets dry like that, it just hasn’t been any long periods of high fire danger.”

But Beauchamp and Bourgoin still want people to take precautions.

“As always, be careful,” Beauchamp said. “Things like dragging your trailer chains, throwing a lit cigarette out of the window, just anything like that can spark a fire. You got to be very careful and not do those things.”

“If anybody cooks and barbecues it’s fine. You should try to have your cooker on a hard surface to keep from starting fires that way, try to do it on a calm day when it’s not real windy,” Bourgoin said.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index is what the county uses to read and determine forest fire potential. Bourgoin says the index would have to be above 575 to declare an emergency and the county’s average.

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